Tetsuo “Tek” Ueda, 87, of Salinas, passed away peacefully from cancer on Dec. 9, 2019. Born on Oct. 27, 1932 in Indio, Calif., Tek grew up in the San Gabriel Valley area and lived in El Monte, Calif. at the time of the signing of Executive Order 9066 in February 1942. He and his family were interned at the Pomona Assembly Center (Los Angeles County Fairgrounds) on May 13, 1942; transferred to Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, Wyo. on Aug. 20, 1942; and moved to Tule Lake Detention Center, CA in September 1943. He was released along with his father and mother in 1946. The family settled in San Marino, Calif. where his parents worked as domestics. Tek is a graduate of South Pasadena High School. Shortly after graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, trained as a military stevedore and, during the Korean War while stationed at Ft Lawton, WA served on military cargo ships providing supplies to bases in the Aleutian Islands. Upon discharge in 1954, he was readmitted to UCLA where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in floriculture and ornamental horticulture. He was one of the early college-educated, Japanese American floriculture graduates entering the long Japanese dominated carnation and chrysanthemum nursery industry. He was employed by Tak’s Greenhouse in Santa Clara, and with the pressure of urbanization, moved with the carnation nursery industry to Salinas Valley. He also served many years as an instructor of the Hartnell College’s floriculture training program for students from Japan. Tek was predeceased by his parents, Chusaku and Toshiyo (Karimoto), originally from Hiroshima, Japan; brothers Minoru (Fuyuko) and Yoshito; and sister Kikue (Robert) Ishiguro. He is survived by his sister, Sachie (John) Hayakawa of Honolulu, six nephews, nine great nieces and nephews, and good friends Jun and Kyoko Uchida of Salinas . He will be interred at the Ueda Family gravesite in the Evergreen Cemetery, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.
Marvin Tanigawa was born in Kaua’i on Feb. 12, 1947 and died Jan. 19 in San Francisco. He had a very long career in the Physical Therapy Department at St. Francis Hospital where he established lifelong friendships including Physical Therapists Susan Eaton, Julia Ladas, and Marge Mraz. He is survived by his brother Michael Tanigawa and family in Honolulu, his companion Dr. Avraham Giannini, friends at Val’s in Daly City – Don Payne and Nancy Koch. Marvin left sunny Hawaii for college in Iowa, then finished his Physical Therapy Degree at Stanford. He had an immense knowledge of Classical Music and a significant collection of music and movies. Marvin honored his Japanese heritage and he named each of his cats “Genji” – the son of an ancient 12th Century Japanese Emperor.
Haruo Makimoto was born on March 27, 1940 in Hiroshima, Japan and passed away peacefully at home on Feb. 12 in Sacramento, at the age of 79 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Haruo was a survivor of the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima. Haruo leaves his loving wife of 32 years, Joyce, along with his children Gordon (Lucy), Diane Samia (Gilbert), Jeremy Lim (Monica) and Tracy (Maria) and grandchildren Alexander, Sebastian, Sophia, Devon and Nancy. Haruo also leaves behind his brothers Takayuki, Akihiro and many nieces and nephews in Hiroshima, Japan. Haruo is preceded in death by his parents Ukuichi and Kuni Makimoto and his siblings Takeshi, Fudeko, Chikara, Mitsuko, Kiyoshi, and Yoshiko. Haruo came to the United States in 1957 and settled in Loomis, California. Haruo was a Judo instructor for more than 50 years in the Sacramento area. Haruo is an 8th degree black belt and an International Judo Federation (IJF) B Referee. In 2019, Haruo was inducted into the United States Judo Federation Hall of Fame. When he came to the United States, Haruo was a first degree brown belt. In 1959, he started a Judo club for the Auburn Parks & Recreation, and in 1962 he began teaching Judo at Aerojet in Sacramento. In 1965, Haruo went to the Sacramento Judo Club to train under Ben Campbell, who was team captain for the first U.S Olympic Judo team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In 1971, Campbell Sensei moved to Colorado and passed the title of head instructor of the Sacramento Judo Club to Haruo. Makimoto Sensei served as the head instructor at the Sacramento Judo Club for 21 years until his departure in 1992. Three months later, he opened the Okubo Judo Club. Over the years, the Okubo Judo Club formed affiliations with the Sacramento Asian Peace Officers Association and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Sacramento. Haruo continued teaching on the mat until September 2019. Haruo also taught a Judo class at Sacramento High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Center. He taught high school Judo from 1999 until the school closed in 2003. Haruo worked at Keyes Fibre Company for 28 years and Riverview Ranch Apartments for eight years until he retired. Haruo enjoyed golfing, fishing in the ocean and fresh water, diving for abalone, hunting, bowling and he loved cooking for his family and friends.
Roy Hitoshi Sato was born on Oct. 31, 1925, in Stockton, California, and passed away peacefully on Feb. 18 in Sacramento. During WWII, he and his family were interned at Jerome and Rohwer WRA centers in Arkansas, and he proudly served in the U.S Army with the 100th Infantry/442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was a small business owner and operator of his own air conditioning and heating services for over 20 years. Roy was a dedicated member, officer, and leader of the VFW Nisei Post 8985, and a long time member of The 100th Infantry Battalion Veteran’s Club (Hawaii), Japanese American Citizens League, Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church, and many other organizations. Roy was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team Medal as well as many other medals and commendations.
Roy is survived by his loving family: wife Hannah Kiyo; sons Kenneth, Michael (Alycia), Douglas (Beverly), Stanley (Ruby), and Roger; grandchildren Robert (Ako), Jennifer (Justin), Denton, Spencer, Morgan, Melissa (Shad), and Alyson; brother Joe (Mari); and numerous nieces and nephews. Roy was preceded in death by sisters Doris (Gene) Omi, Mary (David) Unoura, and Sally (Steve) Nakashima. Private services were held.
Nobuko “Nobie” Sakoda, born April 24, 1928 in Newcastle, Calif. came to rest Feb. 21 peacefully in her home, surrounded by loved ones. She spent her life caring for others, one home-cooked meal, cake, batch of cookies, or bag of fruit from the garden at a time. To know Grammy was to know a kindness of heart, a purity of intention, and a type of complete love that few are fortunate enough to experience.
She was exceedingly talented, and equally modest. When you told her she was your favorite artist, she would say “oh no, I just like to paint,” when you called her house your favorite restaurant, “I thought you might get hungry,” an expert gardener and tailor, “this is what we did when I was a kid,” and “I just wanted to make something for you.” She was there with miso soup the minute you showed the first sign of a cold, with musubi packed neatly for every day trip, brown butter cookies and Italian coffee cake just because, and the best birthday dinners were always sukiyaki at Grammy and Grandpa’s. By caring for us, she taught us how to care for others, how everyday tasks can become acts of love.
Her beautiful smile, her grace and endless generosity are what we will always remember first, but Grammy was tough. She loved telling us what a Tomboy she was growing up on the farm, and after watching her work in the garden, gut a fish, and throw baseballs to you all in the same afternoon, you would never question her claim that “these are hardworking hands!” She worked her way through Hasmore School of Fashion in San Francisco. She survived internment during World War II and lived just long enough to see the state of California offer a formal apology.
While it was difficult for all of us to see someone we love so much suffer a terrible illness, Alzheimer’s did not diminish Grammy’s strength of spirit. Her warmth and compassion shone through even as the disease progressed. In the early stages, forgetfulness led to repeated offers to cook you some food, or for a few extraordinary years, an extra birthday cake or two! Grandpa was the first to note that no matter what she forgot, no matter how many times she asked, she was always offering to help, always trying to take care of you. It is a testament to her inherent goodness that those who knew her only in her later years still felt the same love and kindness we had known for decades.
She is survived by her two children, Don Sakoda and Joanne Dragoo; son-in-law Rob Dragoo; grandchildren Scott Dragoo (Anna Heinrich) and Chad Dragoo (Natalie); great-granddaughter Madison Dragoo; brothers Ken (the late Lucy) Masaki, and Tomio (Joan) Masaki and sister Jean (Kats) Nomura and the dedicated caregivers who so generously gave her the compassionate and loving care she had provided others her entire life, becoming a beloved part of our family in the process. We are eternally grateful for Oly.
She is preceded in death by her husband Tom Sakoda; brothers Kazuo and Muneo Masaki and sister Mieko Daijogo; parents Nobuichi and Ryu Masaki.
Helen Hatsume Tsutsui, resident of San Jose, passed away on Feb. 23. Loving wife to George (deceased), devoted mother to Cheryl (Dave) Ariki, Wes (Pam), Stan (deceased). Grandmother to Kari (Ruben) Batrez, Josh (Yvonne), Brad (Lina), Chris (Stephanie) Tsutsui. Great Grandmother to Jessyna, Landon, Kai, Hannah, Scarlett, Ryo, Jayla, and Evelyn.
Herbert H. Kameda, resident of Sunnyvale, passed away on Feb. 26. Kind in heart; gentle in spirit. Son of Wataru and Ruth Kameda. Survived by his daughter Wendy Kameda and her husband Steve Pazanti, grandson Brant, granddaughter Jayna, step-granddaughters Krystal and Brittany, step-great-granddaughter Sawyer, two sisters, three brothers and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Kunio Idemoto, resident of San Jose, passed on to Nirvana on Feb. 28. He was born Feb. 10, 1939 in Salinas, California, he and his family moved to Watsonville and then on to San Jose, where he worked in retail gardening and landscape designing. An avid fisherman, he created his own lures. Kunio is the son of the late Kenji and Fujiye Idemoto and brother of late Akio and Tom. He is survived by his spouse, Agnes (Kadotani); son, Mark (Chris); and grandchildren, his sister, Mary Iwami; and several nieces and nephews.
Allan Shigeto Nakatomi, born Jan. 5, 1935, passed away on March 4. After working 30 years at Aerojet he suffered some medical issues, but stayed strong to care for his wife, Shirley. In addition to Shirley, he is survived by his daughters Kelly, Laine (Kevin), and Allison (Sean), and grandchildren Robert Hernandez and Mackenzie Gallagher. He enjoyed his family gatherings, fishing, and of course, the casinos! He will be greatly missed!
Hideko Chastain Ino, resident of San Jose, passed away the afternoon of March 4 at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was undergoing a heart valve procedure and never recovered, her loving children and grandchildren were at her bedside. She touched many lives with her joyful spirit and boundless energy. She will always be remembered as being perfectly made up with her red lipstick, wearing jewelry and high heels.
Carole Masumoto, she didn’t want to be a burden. She liked to gamble “to forget her problems.” She loved and is loved and will be missed. Carole Yukino Masumoto passed away on March 5, at the age of 92 following a tragic fall. Born Sept. 7, 1927 in Fowler to Hatsujiro and Masa Sugimoto, immigrants from Hiroshima Japan, she was the youngest of nine siblings. Her eldest brother, Mas Sugimoto, was like a father to her and even took her along on his dates when Carole would pout about being left out. Her farm worker family labored in the fields and she joined them in the hard physical work. She attended local schools and loved to read books from the library. At Fowler Japanese language classes, she simply went to have fun and never mastered speaking Japanese. Her parents worried they had wasted money on her. She spent one year at Fowler High before the forced evacuation of her family and 120,000 West Coast Japanese Americans in 1942 due to the wartime hysteria. The Sugimoto family was relocated to the deserts of Arizona, imprisoned at Gila River Canal camp, Block 22. They spent four years behind barbed wire, coping and enduring while trying to make the most of the moment. She graduated from Canal High while “in camp.” Upon release, Carole worked a few years in LA where sister Lorada had relocated. She fondly recalled seeing Louis Armstrong playing live. She then returned to the valley marrying Takashi Joe Masumoto from Selma in 1948. They gambled on purchasing a farm filled with vines, tree fruit and tons of hard pan. With love, luck and hard work they could start a home and family farm – and celebrate the arrival of three children while living with and caring for the in-laws, Hikozo and Tsuwa Masumoto. The extended Sugimoto family remained in Fowler area, working the fields and planting roots before many moved to Los Angeles. Carole worked the farm alongside her husband, including “boxing raisins” each fall and packing peaches, nectarines and plums during summer harvest. She also sewed, crocheted and enjoyed community activities in the Del Rey Buddhist Church and community, including summer Obon dances and the pot luck dinners where she brought American dishes like taco salad because she “could not compete with the better cooks” who expertly made sushi and other Japanese foods. She knew who she was and was not! As the economics of farming grew tight, Carole carpooled with Claire Nagamatsu and worked for USDA AMS from late 1960s to 1990s as a clerk typist and office worker. This provided stability for her family with income, health benefits and a warm, secure work world with new friendships. Her boss, Lee Virag says, “Carole could always correct my misspelled words and jumbled sentences and worked with a smile, the perfect person on the job, always friendly.” With the arrival of two grandchildren, Carole became “Baachan”/Grandma and grew to comfort them with warm smiles and tender hands. A gentle character and hard worker, she knew what made her content. She understood her limits (she was not a great cook and knew that) yet was independent – often nurturing gardens and curious about life around her. Once she experimented and grew a “peach in a bottle.” She was a fan of sports at Fresno State, the SF Giants and 49ers. She was an advocate for underdogs and misfits, attaching a personal meaning of significance. Hands that work. Hands that care. Hands that hold. Carole believed that actions spoke the loudest especially following the loss of her hearing decades ago. She became a keen observer of life and behavior and wonderfully grew more independent and self assured. She nurtured family to be resilient with “gaman” – Japanese “to endure.” She also encouraged authenticity, never overly impressed with symbols of success and maintained a philosophy of “mottai nai” – don’t be wasteful. She saved boxes of used rubber bands, plastic forks, cups and bags. She did love to gamble and proudly announced she came home a winner on her final casino visit just weeks ago. But gambling was actually about being independent, a ritual of being free and having fun. She learned to text and faithfully communicated her thoughts and opinions with texts and emojis, even sounding political at times. Her hands helped care for her husband following his stroke in 1997. For 13 years she patiently fulfilled a promise of care until his passing in 2010. Time for a new direction, she moved to Vintage Gardens in 2012 and rediscovered a Japanese American community and family friends. In her final days she was cared for by a medical team at Community Hospital and finally surrounded by the warmth and comfort of Hinds Hospice. She is survived by brother George Sugimoto (93) who remembers “growing up in a sibling rivalry and it took the older sister Lorrie to simmer things down; we played games and Carole even shared Easter Eggs with me when I had none; the last time we shared a room as kids was when we were incarcerated at Gila River Relocation Center…” Carole’s “oneesan”/older sister Lorada/Lorrie (Sugimoto) Inouye (98) says “Carole had sense of humor and spirit that made you feel special.” Carole also shared being the youngest in a large extended family with her sister-in-law Yoshiye (Masumoto) Yamagiwa. All are part of a Nisei generation who persevered. Her children include son Rodney, married to wife Diane. Son David Mas Masumoto and wife Marcy (Thieleke) who recalls Carole as “very accepting, non judgmental with an open mind to all.” Granddaughter Nikiko and her wife Nichola DeNatale. Nikiko will remember “Baachan’s vibrant spirit and jubilant laugh!” Grandson Korio remembers his “baachan being so kind and caring, making sure I was fed and doing ok….” Carole was preceded in death by daughter Shirley (Masumoto) Honda, survived by son-in-law Earl Honda, numerous nieces and nephews and their children who created a full and dynamic extended family. Carole’s final wishes were for a simple and very quiet service and a private family memorial gathering. An empty bed now remains, but her spirit lives within many. She will be missed and remembered. In lieu of koden or contribution, the family requests you support a program that captures the stories of Japanese Americans: Yonsei Memory Project at www.yonseimemoryproject.com. We thank you in advance for thinking of Carole, sister, aunt, mother, baachan, friend, neighbor.
Noboru Knobby Tateyama, 88, was born on Feb. 4, 1932, and passed away on March 6. He was a young athlete playing baseball and football and had a passion for sports all his life. He was a veteran of the United States Army serving in the Korean War from 1952 to 1954. Once he returned home, he started his grocery store career as a produce manager for over 40 years. Knobby enjoyed celebrating family birthdays by going out to eat with his family. He also enjoyed working in the yard, meeting his friends every morning for coffee and donuts, and watching sports. He was quiet by nature, but had a great sense of humor to the very end. Knobby is preceded in death by his wife May Tateyama. He is survived by his four children; Dale Tateyama, Ryan Tateyama and wife Tracea, Mark Tateyama and wife Gail, and Tami Dokter and husband Michael. Knobby has seven grandchildren: Mari, Trent, Hannah, Julie, Megan, Derek, and Kyle. He will be missed very much by many.
Dallas “Sam” Yamakoshi, beloved husband of Carol, passed away peacefully on March 7 in his sleep at his home in San Jose. Sam was a loving father to Scott Yamakoshi (Sue), Michelle Shimada (Todd), and Stacy Takamura (Reid). He adored his 11 grandchildren: Brenley (James), Jonah, Coleman, Kenzie, Mathias, Dayna, Kayla, Lance, Brent, Chaeli, and Lindsay. Sam was born in Topaz, UT on May 2, 1944 to James and Kimiko Yamakoshi. He has an older brother Jerry, who pre-deceased him, and a younger sister Genie. The family moved to Palo Alto where he graduated from Palo Alto High. He went on to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UCLA. Sam and his family moved to San Jose in 1971 where he had a successful career working as a software engineer at Hewlett Packard, and also taught night classes at De Anza College. Sam enjoyed gambling in Las Vegas or at Thunder Valley. When he wasn’t gambling, he loved to watch his grandchildren play basketball or baseball or seeing them in plays and other performances. Sam will most be remembered for his contagious smile, kind heart and generosity. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Natsuye Nancy Sakomoto was born in Kerman on May 23, 1932 and passed away on March 10 in Fresno. Nancy is survived by her sister Harumi and her husband Jack Miura, and nieces and nephew.
Darlene Imazeki, resident of Sunnyvale, passed away on March 16. Darlene “Dee” Ushiro was born Nov. 24, 1943 in Camp Shelby, Miss., where her father was in army training during World War II, before joining the 442nd. When her father shipped off to Europe, her mother went into the Topaz internment camp with her infant daughters. After the war, the family lived in Palo Alto and then Oakland. Dee went to Cal where she majored in Social Science and met Denis Imazeki. After graduating, she worked as a social worker for Alameda and then Santa Clara Counties but left that line of work when her first child was born. She spent several years being a mom, homemaker, school volunteer and education activist before returning to paid work in human resources at Lockheed-Martin. During her years at Lockheed, she worked in staffing, employee development, and executive development, and earned a Masters degree in HR Development from Golden Gate University. After retiring in 2000, she volunteered with Sunnyvale Community Services and finally decided she was old enough to take up golf. She and Denis also used their retirement years to travel extensively, including trips to France, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Vancouver, New Orleans and several of the Japanese internment camps. Dee particularly loved Hawaii where she and Denis had multiple time shares. Kauai was her favorite island and even after learning in December that her cancer had returned, she hung on long enough to make it back to Kauai for one last visit in early March, with her entire family by her side. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Denis; daughters Andrea Imazeki-Miyahara (John Miyahara) and Jennifer Imazeki (Joseph Knight); 9-year-old grandson Ben Imazeki-Miyahara; and her sisters, Aprile Ebisui and Lynne Ono.