Makoto Mark Kamiya

KAMIYA, MAKOTO MARK, 95, passed away Nov. 12, 2017. He was born on Mar. 18, 1922, in Livingston, California to Mibuji and Shizuko Kamiya. Mark was a devoted son, studious and idealistic. He attended Ballico Elementary School, graduated from Livingston High School and entered Cal Poly at San Louis Obispo in 1941. His college education was interrupted after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 because he and 110,000 other Japanese Americans were sent to prison camps. He was sent to the Merced County Fairground Assembly Center and later transferred to Amache Internment Camp near Granada, Colorado. While in Amache, he was drafted and was assigned to the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service at Monterey, California. After the war, he studied philosophy and graduated from UC Berkeley. He returned to Ballico and married Mary Noda in 1949. Mark was a respected and creative farmer for over 60 years, and cultivated 220 acres of almonds, peaches and grapes.

Mark was committed to social justice and community involvement. He served on the boards of Ballico School, the Cortez Growers Association, and the Cortez Japanese American Citizens League. In 1964, Mark went to Delano, CA at the request of Cesar Chavez to help organize Pilipino farm workers on behalf of the United Farm Workers Union. He was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement, traveled to Nicaragua several times to build furniture for disabled children and helped Hmong refugee farmers in Livingston grow vegetables. He also participated in the Day of Respect at Modesto High School where he and Mary shared their experiences of being imprisoned during World War II.

Mark is survived by his wife Mary of 68 years; younger brother Joe; four children Marcia, Marla, Maureen and Matthew; and grandchildren Nathaniel and Mariko.

He was predeceased by his elder siblings, Mineko and Smile. The family held a memorial of his life in Oakland in January.

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