OBITUARY: Sam Masao Tanaka

TANAKA, SAM MASAO, 84, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 10, 2012 in Sacramento.

Born Aug. 19, 1927 in Lodi, Calif., Sam was one of eight children of the late Frank and Shigeko Tanaka. Sam married Jenny Okamoto on Oct. 6, 1957.

During WWII, along with other Japanese Americans in the San Joaquin Valley, Sam and his family were taken to the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. He was interned for a year, and was allowed to pursue work opportunities in Chicago. After WWII, Sam was in the U.S. Army and afterward became a mechanic and worked for the U.S. federal government.

Throughout his active years, Sam enjoyed trout fishing with his brothers, nephews and friends, tending to his vegetable garden, traveling the U.S. by way of his motor home, and repairing anything and everything that was broken.

Sam is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jenny; brothers, Ted, Ed, John (Bobbe); sister, June (Lawrence) Aoki; daughters, Genevieve Tanaka, Linda Tanaka-Esparrago (Romeo Jr.); grandchildren, Matthew Dias (Trista), Michele Dias and Kendall Esparrago.

Per Sam’s request, a private family memorial service was held at Cherokee Memorial Park in Lodi on May 16, 2012.

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