Harry Nishimura, 1935-2019
November 13, 2019
Harry Nishimura, 84, of Brooklyn Park, passed away Nov. 4. Just months after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the U.S. entry into WWII, Nishimura and his family were forced to relocate to a Japanese internment camp in the U.S. western interior, losing the family hotel and restaurant as a result. Growing up he was active in sports and learned to caddie at the Golden Valley Golf & Country Club under the tutelage of Harold Sieg, the club’s golf professional, whom Nishimura would come to view as a second father. Nishimura caddied for Lloyd Mangrum at the St. Paul Open once earning the moniker, “Caddie King,” as well as a new watch, for selling the most tickets to the tournament among his caddie peers.
After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps during the late 1950s, Nishimura worked at Control Data Corporation, Honeywell, DC Sales Company and Comfort Supply while raising a family with his wife Nancy.
According to Pete Hauck, Nishimura’s longtime friend and golf partner, Harry pursued his interest in club making and club repair to become a master clubmaker, likely due to his experiences at Golden Valley and Sieg’s influence. Nishimura was expert at wood club refinishing, especially persimmon drivers, and once refinished a driver for Tom Weiskopf, the '73 British Open champ who won 16 times on the PGA Tour.
As golf partners, Nishimura and Hauck won their flight in six Minnesota Public Golf Association (MPGA) amateur championships, with their last two wins in 2004 at the MPGA Four-Ball and Combination championships. Nishimura was an at-large member of the MPGA Board of Directors and was also elected to the Minnesota Golf Association board in 2000, and served two three-year terms. He was instrumental in the founding of the St. Andrews Golf Club at Edinburgh USA, and served as the club’s first president. He also served as club president at the Sundance Golf Club in Maple Grove.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association conducted a women’s professional tournament in the Twin Cities from 1990 to 1998, and for seven years, (’90 to ’96), Edinburgh USA was the host site. During this period Nishimura served as chair of the volunteer committee.
In 1993, the MPGA recognized Nishimura with is highest service award, The Ron Self Memorial Award, for his volunteer leadership at Edinburgh.
Nishimura is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy, their two children and six grandchildren. Visitation is from 5-7 p.m., Nov. 15, at the Cremation Society of Minnesota in Brooklyn Park. Viewing and a mass will be held Nov. 16 at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Brooklyn Center. Nishimura will be interred at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.