Cover photo for Gene Kawakami's Obituary
Gene Kawakami Profile Photo
1943 Gene 2023

Gene Kawakami

July 21, 1943 — August 15, 2023

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gene Kawakami.  Gene was born and raised on the Oregon Slope.  He attended school at Annex and Weiser High School.  He went to the University of Idaho where he earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.  He was the first in the family to earn a four-year degree, providing inspiration to his siblings.  Gene graduated from U of I in 1965 and accepted employment with the Monsanto Company of St. Louis, Missouri.  A lack of job fulfillment, the crowded Midwest environment, and the horrible humidity sent this Weiser farm boy back to his Idaho roots and employment with the JR Simplot Company in Pocatello, Idaho.  As a process engineer in the Phosphoric Acid Department his careful work built a huge knowledge base for himself and his company.  He easily and willingly enjoyed collaborating with his peers in technical sessions, particularly if Buddy’s was the session site.  There is no doubt that the basis for valuable process improvements and patents gained an inkling of life there.  Further, he was adept at spontaneously organizing a picnic on the first warm day of spring and steelhead fishing trips to Hells Canyon.  They were real adventures.  In the early 80s Gene transferred to the newly formed Research Department where he evaluated potential ore sources and processes.  He enjoyed working with his peers, especially Roger Humberger and Gary Long and the group of eager young workers who would become future company leaders.  Gene retired in 2005 with thirty-nine years of service under his belt.  Gene welcomed Micki, Alyce, and his nieces into his home while they got started in Pocatello and attended ISU.  Gene loved fast cars, tennis, and skiing.  He went to El Paso, Texas with a friend to pick up a BMW, driving home with the first BMW in the state of Idaho.  Gene shared his love of skiing by teaching all his nieces.  He was preceded in death by his parents Isaac (Isao) and Yoshiko (Josie) and is survived by his eight siblings and many nieces and nephews.  To celebrate Gene’s life the following memorials will be held:  Buddy’s Italian Restaurant, 626 E. Lewis St., Pocatello, ID 83201 on Saturday, August 26th at 2:00 PM.  Kindly RSVP to or by August 25th.  Joe and Cathy Kawakami’s, Payette, ID on Saturday, September 9th at 2:00 PM.  Please RSVP to or by August 25th.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gene Kawakami, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Buddy’s Italian Restaurant

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Buddy’s Italian Restaurant

626 E Lewis ST, Pocatello, ID 83201

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