OBITUARY: Mitsue “Mitzi” Kamikawa Hurlbert

KAMIKAWA HURLBERT, MITSUE “MITZI” entered the Pure Land peacefully at home on June 27, 2019. She was 99.

Mitzi, as she was known, was born on Jan. 24, 1920, in Fresno, California. She was the third of five children to Koichi and Kaoru Shimata Kamikawa, who ran the popular Kamikawa Brothers general merchandise store in Fresno’s Japantown.

Mitzi attended Lincoln Elementary School, Edison Jr. High School and Fresno High School. She graduated high school in 1937 and worked in the family’s merchandise store in Fresno when World War II broke out.

In 1942, the Kamikawa family was uprooted from Fresno and sent to the Jerome Relocation Center in Denson, Arkansas.

In 1945, the family was released and moved to Seabrook, New Jersey, and later, Bridgeton, New Jersey, where Mitzi worked as a secretary in the police department.

In the coming years, her work would take her to Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Nagoya, Japan.

From 1946-48, she worked for the U.S. 5th Air Force, headquartered at Yokota Air Base. During her time in Japan, she travelled to China and Shanghai.

After she returned to the United States, Mitzi worked for a department store in New York. She eventually relocated to the Bay Area, where she worked for federal government offices in Berkeley and Oakland. This led to a job with the Internal Revenue Service as a Personnel Staffing Specialist until she retired in 1975.

She was introduced to Clarence Roy Hurlbert by a mutual friend and they were married in Aug. 26, l965.

Roy was a respected journalist for the Peninsula Times Tribune in Palo Alto. At the newspaper, Roy held a variety of jobs — he was a news editor, assistant editorial page editor and political reporter and columnist.

They lived in San Francisco and later moved to San Carlos, enjoying 20 wonderful years of marriage until Roy’s untimely death at the age of 55 on Feb. 15, 1985.

Mitzi enjoyed an active life, taking organ lessons, crocheting, mahjong, line dancing and ballroom dancing. She also traveled extensively, visiting Europe, Asia, and many parts of the United States.

Mitzi will be remembered as a caring, loving wife, aunt, grandaunt, great-grandaunt and for her outgoing personality, kindness and love and dedication to her family and animals.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Roy; her parents, Koichi Kamikawa, Kaoru Shimata of Fresno; brother, Thomas Kamikawa of Fowler; and three sisters, Akiko Matsui of Fresno, Sumiko Murashima of Berkeley and Satoko Higashi of Gardena.

She is survived by nieces and nephews, Maya Murashima Yonemura (Paul Yonemura) of Berkeley; John Murashima (Irene Murashima) of Richmond; Alden Kamikawa of Washington, D.C.; Karen Kondo of Fresno; Dennis Matsui of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Sharyn Abe (Larry Abe) of Santa Monica; Robert Higashi (Michelle Higashi) of Yorba Linda; Joan Kanemaru (Byron Kanemaru) of Cerritos; Steve Higashi (Penny Higashi) of Elk Grove; Paul Higashi of Gardena; many grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces and great grandnephews.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 28, 2019, at the Buddhist Church of Oakland, 825 Jackson St., Oakland.

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