Ted Tetsuo Kobata (Poston 229-3-C) was born on July 20, 1924 to Japanese immigrant parents, Shigejiro and Shizuyo Kobata in Sacramento, California. He was a pitcher on the Sacramento High School and Mayhew baseball teams. During WWII, Ted was forcibly evacuated with his parents and sibling and others of Japanese ancestry living in the rural area east of Sacramento to the Pinedale Assembly Center near Fresno, California. On July 22, 1942, Ted and his family were transported on the Santa Fe train into the hot, Arizona desert with the final destination --- Poston, Arizona concentration camp 2. Ted graduated from Poston 2 High School in 1943. He passed out ping pong balls for the Recreation Department, and later worked for the Tofu Factory making “age” (fried tofu). On March 29, 1945, Ted departed from Poston and headed to Caldwell, Idaho to work in the sugar beet fields.
Ted returned to the family farm in east Sacrament and raised strawberries and grapes. He became interested in the construction business, and obtaining his license and created the Kobata Construction company. He ran the business with his wife, Frances as his business partner, secretary, and bookkeeper. Among his numerous construction projects, he built the Gedatsu Church, remodeled the Mayhew Community Baptist Church, and built Kiefer Blvd Industrial Park, which he owned and managed until his death.
Ted Kobata’s most fulfilling project was the construction of the Poston Memorial Monument in Poston, Arizona. He led a group of dedicated Sacramento volunteers to construct a monument to remember the incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry during world War II and soldiers of the Poston families who fought for the United States and died in the war. Ted and his committed work crew hauled equipment and materials from Sacramento to Poston and worked in the hot blazing Arizona desert sun in the summer until the initial project was completed in 1992. In 1995, Ted and his crew returned to the site and constructed an information kiosk.
|Poston Memorial Monument and Kiosk|
Ted Kobata provided assistance with the Heart Mountain, Wyoming concentration camp’s relocation of a full size barrack to the National Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles, California. Ted also re-created the inside of his living quarters at apartment 229-3-C at Poston 2 camp, which is on permanent exhibit in the California History Museum in Sacramento.
Ted enjoyed life, loved his family, the numerous family parties, bowling with his son Glenn, going to the casinos, and traveling to many destinations with Frances.
Ted Kobata died on August 29, 2016 at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Frances; son Glenn, daughter Hannah (Michael); son Stanley (Kris); grandchildren Thomas, Ann, Kyle and Taryn; brother Jim (Betty) Kobata; sisters Ruby (the late Bert) Ishikawa, the late Tomiko (the late Paul) Shiraishi, Yoshiko Kobata, and Gladys (George) Okino; nieces, nephews, and their families.
|Ted Kobata on the camp 3 reunion tour bus to visit Poston in 2010|