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From Football to Fine Arts, BYU Is Better Thanks to Knight Society Members

January 2021

Knight Society members Ray and Yukiko Matsuura in front of a large tree with a tire swing and ladder.

Ray and Yukiko Matsuura have been active members of the Jesse and Amanda Knight Society since they decided to retire from farming potatoes and wheat in Idaho in 2015.

“I love BYU,” says Ray, who graduated from the BYU Marriott School of Business and has been a fan of BYU football since the glory days. “I saw BYU beat the Hurricanes,” he says, referring to the 1990 game in which BYU beat the visiting top-ranked Miami team.

Ray’s wife Yukiko gained her appreciation of BYU through arts and music. She loves the university’s dance groups and the orchestra. “Ray supports business and football. I support the arts,” says Yukiko, who studied design in Sendai, Japan.

Both are glad for their membership in the Knight Society, which is open to anyone who names BYU as a beneficiary in a will, trust, insurance policy, or retirement account.

The couple enjoyed attending the Knight Society lunches hosted by President Kevin J Worthen, until the annual event was canceled due to COVID-19. Ray particularly liked having BYU football coach Kalani Sitaki as the guest speaker at the 2018 luncheon.

“That was good, but I really liked the one featuring BYU’s animation program,” Yukiko says. “The students win so many awards.”

Ray, who served a mission to Sapporo, Japan, met Yukiko many years later when visiting a former missionary companion in Sendai. When Yukiko took a job as a graphic designer at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, Ray reconnected, writing letters and making the long trip from Blackfoot, Idaho, to Utah.

“Things went pretty fast from there,” Ray recalls. They were married within months. Suddenly Yukiko, who was still adjusting to life in the United States, found herself in the middle of rural Idaho with only rudimentary English skills. A kind next-door neighbor took Yukiko under wing. “She spent a lot of time with me, helping me learn English,” says Yukiko.

The farm was large, with up to 3,500 acres planted in potatoes and grain. Ray never intended to be a farmer, but when his dad passed away, he went home to help. “I got roped into it somehow,” Ray says jokingly.

Japanese food is standard fare at the Matsuura home, and occasionally that means traveling to Salt Lake to get certain ingredients. The couple spoke only Japanese in their home when their two children were younger. One day their oldest daughter put her foot down, saying she only wanted to speak English because she would never use Japanese living in Idaho. Nevertheless, she was fluent enough in her first language when she was called to serve as a missionary in Sendai.

Ray and Yukiko both look forward to attending Knight Society luncheons on campus again when the pandemic has passed. “We love them, especially getting to mingle with others and associating with amazing people at BYU,” Yukiko says.