Kathryn Korematsu. photo by Jason Jao
Kathryn Korematsu. photo by Jason Jao

Frances “Kathryn” (Pearson) Korematsu passed away in her sleep Oct. 28, 2013, in Oakland, Calif., according to an obituary issued by the the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. She was 92.

Korematsu was born on March 14, 1921, in Greenville, S.C.

She held a bachelor’s degree in science from Winthrop College, the South Carolina College for Women (now Winhtrop University), in Rock Hill, S.C., and a master’s degree in medical technology from Wayne University in Detroit, Mich.

She worked in the lab at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and later taught nurses at Mount Carmel College of Nursing, in East Lansing, Mich.

She married the late Fred T. Korematsu, on Oct. 12, 1946, in Detroit, Mich. They moved to California in 1948. Fred Korematsu’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. United States, challenged the constitutionality of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. He lost his case in 1944, but his conviction was overturned in 1983 when it was proven there was no military necessity for the mass incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry.

Korematsu was involved in several organizations and charitable work, including various programs with the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland.

She is survived by her daughter, Karen (Donald); son, Ken (Cecy); sister-in-law, Carolyn Pearson; nephews and nieces; grandnephews, and grandnieces. She was predeceased by her brother, Paul David; and by her sister, Virginia Lee.

A memorial service was held Nov. 30 at the First Presbyterian Church in Oakland, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, to the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education (via the Asian Law Caucus; specify the Korematsu Institute in the gift designation) or a charity of one’s choosing.

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