After 98 years devoted to family, faith, and community, our father, William Wing Louie, is now reunited with our mother, Merrie Okamura. Will passed away on April 21, 2021 with his family surrounding him.
Born on January 18, 1923, in Ogden, Utah to Wing Louie and May Szto Shee, Will grew up with five brothers and four sisters. After high school, he worked at Hill Air Force Base until he enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was 19 years old. He served in the celebrated 354th “Pioneer Mustang” Fighter Group and was stationed in England, France, and Germany. During the war, while he was painting a mural in the mess hall, someone told him he should go into architecture. That was the first time Will even considered the profession.
On April 3, 2021 Will was awarded the Chinese-American World War II Veteran Congressional Gold Medal.
After the war ended, with the support of the GI Bill, Will was one of seven members in the first graduating class of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah in 1951. He was the first minority and Asian to be licensed as an Architect in the State of Utah in 1957. After graduation, Will worked in the offices of Scott and Beecher. In 1958, at the young age of 35, Will was offered a partnership and the firm was renamed Scott and Louie, later evolving into Scott, Louie, and Browning. Over the next 40 years, the award-winning firm would go on to design over 250 buildings. Capping a long career in architecture, Will was the recipient of the American Institute of Architects' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
In September 2019 Will was awarded the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Will felt the role of the architect in society included not only the design of the physical space but also the responsibility to contribute to the community in other ways. Will’s commitment to service and leadership included the architectural, Catholic, and underrepresented communities. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Salt Lake City, Serra International, Catholic Charities, and The Center for Documentary Arts, and was one of the co-founders for Chinese for Community Action (CFCA).
Will married Merrie in October 1951 and raised two sons and five daughters. Our dad was a creative spirit. He created many beautiful works of art including annual Christmas cards for family and friends. He received notable recognition for his watercolors at the Utah State Fair with multiple “Best in Show” awards. Additionally, Will was an avid fan of the University of Utah football and basketball and the Utah Jazz. He was an aficionado of exotic cars and enjoyed golfing, fishing, and camping with his family. Will is survived by his sons Gordon (Sharon) and Kenneth (Janet); his daughters Maria (Jim Kier), Cindi (Dan) Kaschmitter, Lisa (Paul Cisneros), Teresa (Richard) Leigh, and Melanie Louie; his grandchildren Kelli (Tracy) and William R. (Anna) Louie, Alex (Nancy) and Niki Kaschmitter, William Cisneros, Taylor and Christopher Leigh, and Anna, Andrew (Sheena), and Michael Castillo; and his great-grandchildren Peter and Jasmine Castillo, Jack Louie, Grace Castillo, Stella Kaschmitter, and Madeleine Louie; along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Merrie; his parents; his brothers Harry, Robert, Mack, Edward, and Grant; and his sisters May Jensen, Bessie Louie, Jean Louie, and Mary Kloer. We are grateful to Dr. Beth Hanlon, and caregivers throughout his life, including Cristina Rosa and Viviane Oliveria who cared for him for the past year.
His funeral mass will be celebrated in one of the churches he designed, however due to COVID-19, it will be private. His family hopes guests will attend virtually by returning to this page on Wednesday, April 28 just before 10:00 AM where a "Watch Service Live" button will appear. He will be privately laid to rest with his wife, Merrie, at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park. The mass and burial will remain here to view on demand for years to come. Donations may be made in his memory to St. Ann Church, 2119 South 400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84115. Floral tributes may be arranged through Orchid Dynasty Millcreek (801)930-0011.