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Brian Watanabe, 1949-2020
A scholar, an athlete, a businessman
Nathan Brian Watanabe
February 7, 1949 - December 26, 2020 
San Diego

Nathan, 71, son of Hideo and Dorothy Watanabe, died of natural causes. Nathan graduated from Sunny Hills High in Fullerton, CA and received his BA and MA at Redlands University.

He worked for the city of San Diego. He is survived by his brother, Gordon Watanabe.
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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Jan. 1, 2021.---


My earlier obituary:

Brian died recently at his home in Point Loma, CA. He'd had health issues for quite a few years. 

Brian was an excellent student and a bright individual. Previously he'd been 8th grade class president at Wilshire Junior High School, after Buck Young, '67 put Brian's name in nomination by surprise.

One summer during high school, he and Randy McDonald, '67 worked in a special project at Beckman. Brian graduated from Redlands University where he majored in inorganic chemistry.

He earned a master's degree from Redlands, and also pursued graduate studies in Audiology at Purdue University in Indiana. His emphasis was in research rather than treating patients.

After a few years Brian went into the insurance industry. One of his main jobs was with an insurance company affiliated with UCLA. He remarked with delight that the university gave him a special parking permit, which only happened to big-shots. He worked with high level officials at the UCLA Medical Center, and on his lunch hours, he often ran with colleagues up the hills of Bel Air. He remembered that he and his friends would often stop and sample the fruit of trees they encountered on the way.

Brian was an innate proponent of life-long learning, and he earned a JD in law school, but never practiced law. He kept up to date with science and technology, and especially with worldwide investment markets. He was so well informed that sometimes he'd send his friends email tips on precious metal markets. 

In his retirement, he had a beautiful condo in the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood of Point Loma, CA. He loved and respected precision instruments including high fidelity equipment and cameras, and one of his joys was to watch the ocean and boats with his top of the line high-powered telescope. He was also an experienced photographer, and one of his hobbies was to stroll down to the end of Point Loma by the lighthouse, enjoy the view and take photographs.

Brian was divorced and had no children. He is survived by a younger brother, Gordon.

Mr. and Mrs. Watanabe were interned by the US government in Poston, AZ during World War Two, along with thousands of other American-born Nisei in that and other internment camps. Brian had a passionate interest in his parents' experience, and talked sometimes about writing a book about it. 

Brian was in the very first class I ever had at Sunny Hills: English 1 with Miss Lois Bernot, 8 AM, with Cynthia Byerrum, Stan Commons, Susan Neuhart, Matt Hacker, Cynthia Marshall, David Rechnitzer, Tracy Garnett, Sue Ferguson, Sue Ryel and other friends, and also my freshman PE class with Mr. Gordon McCall.

He had many friends wherever he went. Rest In Peace.

(Please correct any errors I may have made.) 



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Patrick W Conover, '67 on January 1, 2021 at 5:53 AM said:

I can remember Brian was a track sprinter and had a horrible biking accident in 8th grade at Wilshire, injuring his leg. He recovered and I remember the coaches working with him to see if he could still compete.
He was always up and had a great attitude about everyone and everything.
It's a shame that he has passed at such a young age.
Rodney G. Handsfield, M.D. on January 1, 2021 at 12:48 AM said:

I was shocked to learn of Brian’s passing from his brother Gordon. Our friendship went back to Wilshire Junior High where we sang in the Madrigals choral group as baritones. Brian and I last spoke on Christmas Eve. He was a fascinating and loyal friend and I miss him terribly. May he rest in eternal peace. Rod

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