Edith Sadako Watanabe

July 12, 1923 – March 5, 2023

WATANABE, EDITH SADAKO passed away peacefully on March 5, 2023, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. She was born on July 12, 1923 in San Francisco to Sadakusu and Tatsuyo Enomoto. Her father was the proprietor of Enomoto & Co., an importer and wholesale grower of chrysanthemums and roses at his nursery in Redwood City.

Edie, as she was known to friends and family, graduated from Galileo High School in 1941. She attended UC Berkeley until she was forced to withdraw when Executive Order 9066 called for the incarceration of Japanese Americans living in the Pacific states during WWII. Luckily, her older adult siblings quickly arranged for the family to relocate to Denver, Colorado thus avoiding the camps. In 1946, Edie graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. In 2009, UC Berkeley awarded her with an honorary degree. After WWII ended, her family returned to San Francisco.

Edie met her husband Tom at a JACL convention and they married in 1953. They lived in the Windsor Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles until they moved to Rolling Hills Estates in 1970 with their four children. Combined with Tom’s successful medical practice, Edie’s financial management and investment savvy helped ensure the family’s comfort and security. Edie was a dedicated mother who gave her children the best educational opportunities and exposed them to music, theater, sports, travel and lots of good food! She loved the large space of her home’s backyard and the variety of ornamental plants, flowers and vegetables and fruit trees that she had selected.

After raising her young children, she returned to school and obtained a Master’s degree and Teaching Credential from USC and taught as a substitute teacher.

Edie and Tom were JACL Life Members and long-time and active members of Centenary United Methodist Church in Little Tokyo and the Japanese American Medical Association. They were also founding members of the Japanese American National Museum.

Edie had many other interests including traveling, investing in the stock market and playing bridge. After many years of earning points in competitive play, she achieved the American Contract Bridge League Life Master rank in 2004.

Edie did not overtly push her children but was never hesitant to nudge them when needed and was proud of their academic and professional achievements. Edie enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was in good health, with a strong will and a sharp mind until the end. At 99 she could still recall details of her childhood in San Francisco and all the friends, family and events of her very full life.

Edith was pre-deceased by her husband, Dr. Tom T. Watanabe, siblings William Enomoto, Yuriko Oku, John Enomoto and Rose Nakada, and daughter-in-law, Betty Watanabe. She is survived by her children: Neil Watanabe, Wendy Watanabe (Eric Winter), Dr. Alyssa Watanabe and Kara Watanabe Kent (Phil Kent), grandchildren: Jennifer Prindle (Andy Prindle), Tyler Watanabe (Cindy Qin), Matthew and Nicole Kimi Look, Thomas Winter, and Christopher and Daniel Kent, and great grandchildren: Jack, Samantha and Lily Edith Prindle

In lieu of flowers or koden, please consider a donation in her honor to the Japanese American Medical Association Scholarship Fund (jamasocal.org).

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