OBITUARY: Sumiko Nishimura

Sumiko Nishimura

Oct. 12, 1918 – Nov. 12, 2022

NISHIMURA, SUMIKO of San Francisco passed away peacefully at the age of 104 on November 12, 2022. One of seven children, Sumiko was born in Laguna Beach, California, in 1918 to Issei farmers, Hidekichi and Haru Kihara. When Sumiko was four, the Kihara’s moved to Hiroshima to care for aging parents.

After completing high school, Sumiko met and married Frank Toyokichi Nishimura, her life partner. They began their new lives in San Francisco and eventually had six children.

The events of WWII forced the Nishimura’s into incarceration; first at Rohwer, Arkansas, and then Tule Lake internment camp. After the war, the family returned to San Francisco, where they became owner/operators of a dry cleaner, working side by side until retirement. They were active in the Hiroshima Ken Jin Kai forming lifelong friendships. Sumiko and Frank enjoyed entertaining friends sharing meals and singing traditional Japanese songs. Dancing at the Obon and Cherry Blossom festivals brought them much joy.

Later in life, Sumiko enjoyed travels to Japan, Europe, Alaska and parts of the U.S. Until her nineties she and her daughters took trips together to Southern and coastal California cities. Family was very important to Sumiko. Her childhood in Japan left her with many loving memories which she often shared and she found much happiness in spending time with her grandchildren. Sumiko was happy in the kitchen cooking traditional dishes to share with family and friends. As an accomplished seamstress, she learned the art of Japanese doll making, many dolls gracing the homes of her children. Up until age 102, Sumiko crocheted many blankets donated to hospital maternity wards.

Sumiko’s survivors include Merry Nishimura (primary caregiver), Margie Shiozaki (Eddie), Nancy Garvin (Danny) and Arthur Nishimura; grandchildren, Keith Shiozaki (Laura), Stacey Tanabe (Jeffrey), Derek Brennan and Taryn Almstead (Ryan), great grandchildren Anton, Trent, Mia, Sarah, Jessica, Samantha, Taylor, and great, great grandchildren, Riley and Katie Belle. She was preceded in death by husband, Frank, son Yoshiaki, and daughter Katie (Brennan).

Sumiko will be remembered for her strength, grace, welcoming nature, generosity and beautiful smile. We will miss her presence as she remains in our hearts.

A private ceremony will be held. In lieu of flowers or koden, please make a donation to the Buddhist Church of San Francisco, Kimochi, or to your favorite charity.

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