March 30, 1919 – May 5, 2021
Matsuyo (“Mat”) Katagiri was active and healthy until she passed away after a fall from an unexpected stroke. Mat was beloved by all who knew her and will be dearly missed. Her family is so grateful we had her with us until she was 102. Sickly as a child, her father told her she wouldn’t live past 40 and we all couldn’t be happier he was wrong!
Born in La Jolla, Calif. as the first of six children of Keichi and Sono Yamashita, she grew up in Southern California and graduated from Laguna Beach High School in June 1938, then graduated from Keisen Girls’ School in Tokyo, Japan in 1940.
Mat married George Katagiri, a pharmacist, in L.A. on June 28, 1941 and honeymooned in Yosemite. She was pregnant with her first daughter, Betty, when the relocation order came out. After the birth in April 1942, she joined her family at the camp in Amache, Colo. for three long, tough years.
Returning to L.A. after the war, she and George had a second daughter, Alice, in April 1947. Mat maintained the household for her husband and daughters as well as for her husband’s parents and brother. She still found time for craft projects like sewing and knitting. She was so busy she often took the stairs two at a time even though she was only four feet 10 inches tall. She ate everything, especially vegetables and fruit, just in small portions. In her later years, Mat loved the freedom and independence of living on her own, with the full support of her family.
A devout Christian, Mat was on the Board and served as Women’s Fellowship President at West Adams Christian Church, teaching Sunday school there for 25 years. She was also Chairperson of the holiday luncheons and the corsage project for Keiro Nursing Home patients. Recently she has been an active member of L.A. Holiness Church.
Mat’s children, grandchildren and recently great-grandchildren were her pride and joy. Betty became a pharmacist like her father and married Stan Burrows, an engineer, in 1966, and they had children, Elaine, now a dentist DDS/MS, and Steve, now a MD in Seattle. Steve married Paula in 2015 and they have given Mat two great-grandchildren, Eloise and Theodore Burrows. Alice became a Ph.D research psychologist and married Larry Agin, an actuary, in 1969 and their son, Edward Agin now works for the Walt Disney Company.
Mat is also survived by her beloved and accomplished brother, Tak Yamashita, 93, and his large family.
In accordance with her wishes and COVID rules, a private family memorial service was held at Fukui Mortuary and private burial service at Inglewood Park Cemetery. If you wish to make a donation in her memory, it should go to L.A. Holiness Church, 3660 S. Gramercy Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90018.