Pete Mitsushi Mitsui, the 97 year-old, eldest son of Hatsumi and Ichiji Mitsui, passed away on August 31 of natural causes in San Luis Obispo, California. Pete emigrated with his parents to Los Angeles, from Hiroshima, Japan in 1914 when he was 3-months of age, and they settled in the San Fernando Valley.
A star pitcher at San Fernando High School and for the San Fernando Aces of the Japanese Athletic Union in the ‘30s and ‘40s, he also played on the L.A. Nippon team that barnstormed throughout the state prior to his relocation to the Manzanar internment camp. In the ‘90s he participated in the Nisei Baseball Research Project which culminated in an exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He was also named by Terry Cannon in the Los Angeles Times as one of the Southland’s All-Time High School Baseball All-Stars in a 2010 feature.
After leaving Manzanar, Pete and his brother-in-law, Frank Ishida, established Uneeda Garden Nursery in South Gate, California where Pete worked until his retirement in the mid-’80s. During their years at the nursery, the partners sponsored an annual Mum Festival for several years, hosting each year’s Nisei Week Queen and her Court. The Mitsui family resided in the Crenshaw area until moving to Fullerton and ultimately to San Luis Obispo in 2006.
Pete is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Ayako (nee Muto), his son Brian Mitsui and wife Joanne of San Luis Obispo, daughter Patti and husband Geoff Westen of Westlake Village, and grandsons Cory Mitsui and wife Kimberley and Joey Mitsui. He has one surviving sibling, Mitsuko Umemoto and her husband Kazuo of Torrance, sister-in-law, Akiko Mitsui and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Service will be held on Saturday, September 17 at 11 a.m. at the Chapel at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, 27501 S. Western Ave. (213) 626-0441.