Jimi Mitsunaga died at age 87
Although he was born and raised in Utah not far from the Utah State Capitol building, Jimi Mitsunaga moved to Henderson, Nevada, in his later years with his wife Barbara. She passed away in 2021, and Jimi just died on January 31, 2022.
His Japanese immigrant parents had owned a store in downtown Salt Lake City on First South. It had been a part of what was then the Japantown area of the city before World War II and until it was displaced by The Salt Palace Convention Center.
Jimi Mitsunaga graduated from the University of Utah and became a lawyer in 1958 in Salt Lake City. He was one of the original founders of the Utah Minority Bar Association (UMBA). He was among the first fifty minority lawyers in the State of Utah.
The Utah Minority Bar Association honored its founders in 2011 by "Celebrating 20 Years of Diversity" at their annual dinner. The founders are:
Raymond Uno, Robert Archuleta, Narda Beas-Nordellm, Solomon Chacon, Robert Flores, Glenn Iwasaki, Tyrone Medley, Jimi Mitsunaga, Dane Nolan, Danny Quintana, William Thorne, Jr.. Thuan Tran. Phil Uipi, James Esparza, Michael Martinez, Steven Payton, Glinda Ware Langston, Ken Histake, Robert Booker
The mission statement of UMBA is as follows:
Founded in 1991, UMBA is an organization of Utah lawyers committed to promoting diversity and addressing issues that impact racial and ethnic minorities, especially within the legal community. UMBA membership is open to all members in good standing of the Utah State Bar who believe in the mission and purpose of our association.
One of the awards given out annually by UMBA is named in honor of Mitsunaga.
Jimi Mitsunaga Excellence in the Law Award. This award is named in honor of Jimi Mitsunaga, one of the First 50 minority attorneys in Utah, who contributed much to the legal profession in Utah and who worked tirelessly to promote the provision of legal services to underserved communities, including minority communities. The award goes to a member of the Utah State Bar who has excelled in the practice of criminal law or has made a substantial contribution toward the mission and purpose of UMBA.
Jimi Mitsunaga will be fondly remembered by his family friends, and members of the Utah Minority Bar Association for his outstanding influence and legal work in the Salt Lake City community.