OBITUARY: Sumiko Munemoto Flodin

Sumiko Munemoto Flodin

FLODIN, SUMIKO MUNEMOTO, 80, passed away peacefully on November 16, 2017 holding the hand of her son Michael in the comfort of her beloved home in El Cerrito.

Sumi was born on February 25, 1937 in Gifu, Japan the youngest of 7 children to Fukuichi and Fumika Munemoto. She met her husband James Flodin in Japan and after marrying made the journey to the United States in 1959. Shortly after her arrival she became a member of the Nichiren Buddhist Church of America, an important lifelong source of community and friendship.

Once settled, she answered an ad for a job manufacturing a new product called a contact lens and soon became a skilled lens technician. This was an auspicious start into a field that would sustain her throughout the years.

In 1962, her son Michael was born. They have been close friends throughout life.

After some time working for several lens outfits, she eventually opened her own company, Precise Contact Lens Company in 1974. She ran the company for 44 years until her retirement in 2016. She was lucky in that she never tired of her work, instead she enjoyed the challenges of the specialty lenses she became appreciated for, hand crafting each lens with precision.

Sumi spent her entire life in the Bay Area, mostly in SF before venturing to Oakland and finally settling in El Cerrito, a place that reminded her of her hometown of Gifu. She spent much time in her garden and backyard, enjoying its gifts of peacefulness. Her inseparable and beloved buddy, a miniature Dachshund named Penny was her coworker, co-gardener, and special partner.

A true passion was her music. Studying and performing Japanese Classical and Folk music as a longtime member of Fujimoto Kai, she sang and played shamisen with her cohorts often in the bay area, gradually teaching in later years. Always open to the glorious gamut of music, she kept her eyes and ears open. From kotos to sitars, taikos to rock drums, it all made her smile.

Strong willed and with a spirited soul, Sumi lived her life with verve and enjoyed much laughter. She loved her Giants and later Warriors, praising and protesting with enthusiasm from the couch.

A special recent memory was a sublime trip taken to Japan in January of 2017, a trip of discovery and unexpected resolution and closure. Sumi and Michael journeyed to Japan and enjoyed meetings and reunions with friends and family, old and new. Of particular importance was paying respect to family members long departed. Thanks to the research and efforts of her nephew Daishiro, a road trip was undertaken to the isle of Shikoku to visit the town of her parent’s youth, discovering while there the lost lore of her grandfather’s life in Tokushima.

She was the last of her siblings. She was predeceased by James Flodin, a good friend in life. She is survived by her son Michael and a wonderful extended family of friends, including relatives and friends in Japan, the community of members of the Nichiren Buddhist Church of America, her friendships from Fujimoto Kai, and later community thru Sakura Kai El Cerrito.

A memorial service will be held at the Nichiren Buddhist Church of America (2016 Pine St., SF CA 94115) on Sunday March 25th at 1:00 pm.

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