OBITUARY: Roger Kenji Nakashima

 Roger Kenji Nakashima

March 2, 1950 ~ April 7, 2022

Roger Kenji was born to Harry and Jessie (Iwatsuki) Nakashima on March 2, 1950. Growing up in Nyssa, Roger attended his first branding at age 6, which began his lifelong love of all things cowboy. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Roger’s work ethic was forged in the fields of the Nyssa, Vale, and Ontario area. 

After graduating from Nyssa High School in 1968, Roger started a military career during the summer of 1969 that would span more than 23 years of Active Duty and Reserve service in the Marines and the Army.

While serving in the Army Reserve, Roger was proud to become a law enforcement officer; first with the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office and then with the Nampa Police Department. Throughout his military career, Roger accomplished several notable achievements, including graduating from Basic Airborne training one month before turning 36, and completing the rigorous assessment, selection, and training process to become a “Green Beret” and serve with the 19th Special Forces Group.

Following his service as a police officer, Roger sold insurance for the Principal Financial Group before deciding to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an auctioneer. After graduating from the Western College of Auctioneering in 1991, Roger worked for Larry Downs, who he credited with giving him a solid foundation in the auction business. 

After several years, Roger struck out on his own and became the owner and lead auctioneer for both the Ontario Auction and Snake River Auction, LLC, where he took great pride in selling everything from goats and chickens to houses and tractors for more than 30 years. Roger enthusiastically gave back to the community and donated his time and services to many benefit auctions. 

In addition to continually working to be the best in the business, Roger loved helping round up and brand cattle with his friends, among other cowboy pastimes. 

Time spent on the ranch furthered his appreciation for the cowboy way and he owned several horses, with a couple being reserved specifically for his grandkids. 

Roger shared with everyone his love for horses and his belief that working with horses makes you a better person. He found immense joy in teaching horsemanship, especially to his grandkids. As they grew older, Roger managed to get miles of fence repaired and tons of hay stacked thanks to his grandkids and their friends. He called it bonding.

Roger was well-known for his ready smile and quick wit. He would carry on a conversation with ease and was always happy to offer advice, solicited or not. Roger genuinely cared about his friends and family and would express his care through honesty, pointing out stupidity where he saw it and offering praise when earned, although it seemed to have been earned easier by his grandchildren than by his children. 

After suffering a massive heart attack in January 2021, Roger was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in August 2021 was given six months to live. Roger wasn’t having any of that. 

Repeatedly stating “I’m not giving up,” he attacked cancer with single-minded determination and lived with humor and tenacity up to his death on April 7, 2022.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Jessie Nakashima; sister, Carolyn Nakashima; brother, Baby Nakashima; and his grandparents. He is survived by his older brother, Harry “Skip” (Theresa) Nakashima; nephews, David (Kelly) Nakashima & Steve (Minako) Nakashima; daughter, Angela (Russ Wilson) Nakashima, sons Anthony (Sasha) Nakashima, Andrew (Tami) Nakashima; grandchildren, Nicholas (Tiffany) Connell, Joshua (Emily) Connell, Daniel (Hannah) Nakashima, Tommy (Brittney) Williams, Veronica Williams, Aaron (Amy) Nakashima, Cameron (Hannah) Nakashima, Aden Nakashima, Korbin Nakashima, AJ (Hanui) Nakashima, Elizabeth (Ahron) Nakashima, Amberlyne (Phillip) Findlay, Nate Nakashima, Marcus and Lana Sherman, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Roger’s ashes will be placed alongside his parents during a graveside service at the Hilltop Cemetery in Nyssa on May 20 at 11 a.m. with a memorial service to follow at 2 p.m. at Payette United Methodist Church 502 N. 11th St, Payette, Idaho, 83661.