Sayuri Harami was born in 1925 in Long Beach, Calif., the first child of Yonejiro and Hideyo (Hamada) Nakasuji, both of whom were immigrants from Wakayama, Japan. She passed away on August 31, 2022, in Henderson, Nev., aged 97.

The family was living in Chula Vista when, in 1934, her father was killed in an accident on board his fishing boat, “Western Enterprise.” In 1936, her mother took Sayuri and her four younger siblings across the Pacific and back to Wakayama, Japan.

Sayuri graduated from high school, where she excelled in mathematics and science. She attended college in Tokyo and was “drafted” to work at the Nikon factory there. She survived the Tokyo firebombing of 1945 and returned to Wakayama, where she worked on a farm in Tanami, which allowed her to take food to her mother and siblings in Gobo.

In 1947, Sayuri married Tsutomu Harami and the couple moved to Tokyo, where they had two sons. The family emigrated to America in 1956 and settled in Long Beach, Calif. Sayuri took night school at Long Beach City College. Immediately after a physics class, she delivered a daughter. In 1964, Sayuri was hired as a “math assistant” by the Space Science Division of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena. As a software programmer, she worked for over two decades on major projects like Voyager, Viking, Mariner, Ranger, Pioneer, and others. In 1965, the family moved to Pasadena to eliminate her long commute from Long Beach. 

In 1978, Sayuri started a collie dog business called “Spring Collies.” She retired from JPL as an engineer in 1987 and shortly thereafter purchased a 5-acre property in Phelan, Calif., so she could expand her collie business. Over the next 20 years, Sayuri immersed herself in the collie world and was very successful, often driving to the far corners of the United States to show her dogs. Over 20 of her collies were champions.

Sayuri is predeceased by her husband, Charles Tsutomu; daughter, Yoko; grandson, Michael Harami; and sister, Miyo (Masuo) Hora.

She is survived by brother, Ichiro (Mitsue) Nakasuji; sisters, Ayako (Tatsuma) Kujiraoka and Taeko (George) Yamashiro. Also, she is survived by sons, Kei (Irene) Harami and Chiaki Harami; daughter, Eureka (Joe) Hoerter; and granddaughter, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Doctor Alison Matsunaga, now stationed in Japan.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *