June 2, 1921 – February 10, 2022
Mary Umeda Kawanishi passed gently into the night light on February 10, 2022, in the home built by her husband, Terry, and in the arms of her loving companion and caregiver, Reden Baguinon. Mary is the last surviving child of Masataro and Tomegiku Umeda, immigrants from Wakayama, Japan, who farmed in the Florin-Taishoku area and raised grapes and strawberries.
Mary is preceded in death by her husband, Terry Kawanishi; beloved daughter, Karen; and siblings; Mike (Yuriko Toyoda), Fred (Akiko Watanabe), Harley (Lucy Oishi), Alice (Ken) Kawamoto and Tom (Gail Tanihana); and survived by many grand and great nieces and nephews.
Mary lived a rich 100 years filled with family, friends, employment and her church. A lifetime resident of Sacramento, she was born on June 1921, in Florin, Calif. In 1942, she and her family were forcibly removed and incarcerated in the Jerome incarceration center, Arkansas. She met Terry Kawanishi while in the Fresno Assembly Center, and they married in August 1943, at the Lake Village, outside of the Jerome incarceration center.
They left the incarceration center to work and reside in Chicago, Ill. and in 1945 returned to Sacramento, Calif., where their beloved daughter, Karen was born in 1947. Tragically, Karen died in an automobile accident on New Year’s Day 1970.
Mary worked for the State of California, Department of Motor Vehicles for 26 years. Her hobbies included sewing, needle work, flower arrangement, gardening and baking. She was an independent woman, attended morning exercise classes, driving herself and others to appointments and activities, voluntarily stopped driving in her mid-90s. She enjoyed the Buddhist Church of Florin activities, especially the senior luncheons, vacations with Terry and friends and spending Thanksgiving week with her niece and nephew, Emmet and Faye Brophy.
Special thanks and gratitude to Reden Baguinon, her 24/7 caregiver and companion for the past 7 years. A special lady who persevered in spite of the many hardships in her life, she had that “Gambatte” spirit and never gave up. At her request, no koden.