Mrs. Sumie Tagawa, 88-year-old, Fukui-Ken, Japan-born Issei, resident of Los Angeles, passed away peacefully on August 16, 2022, at Kei-Ai South Bay Healthcare Center.
Sumie was born on September 15, 1933, in Fukui-ken Mihama, Japan, to Shiyokichi Tento and Yoshi (Tamai) Tento. I recall Mom telling me she had a challenging time growing up in Japan working on the family land. She had to walk miles to the next village to barter chicken eggs for sugar and flour, and how she helped raise silkworms in a shed to earn money for other essential goods for the family. Mom hurt her back lifting the heavy rice bundles when she was a teenager, and she could barely stand or walk. She had a wealth of farm knowledge, but the hardships made her promise herself never to be a “farmer” again.
In her late twenties, Mom went to live in California with the help of her older sister, Kiyoko. She lived with Kiyoko’s family on a strawberry farm, which later became a bonsai nursery. It is there she met her husband-to-be, James Hachiro Tagawa. For James, it was love at first sight. Soon after in July of 1961, Sumie and James were married. In 1962 Linda was born, and in 1963 I, Susan, was born.
Mom was incredibly talented and made a myriad of crafts such as crocheted Santa dolls and crocheted blankets, jester dolls with pointed hats, temari balls made of colorful threads, kimekomi dolls and Japanese dolls with hand-sewn kimonos. I would watch my mom make these wonderful crafts for hours. I found myself interested in crafts at the age of 7 or so. Mom would let me help her cut ribbons and wind yarn. Mom must have made hundreds of ribbon flowers that she so generously donated to the Japanese school carnivals. She was also highly active with the Japanese school PTA and was PTA president for the Mother’s Club for many years. The Japanese school carnivals were the best; chicken and beef teriyaki kabobs with tiny onigiris and pickled cabbage, 40-cent tacos and of course shaved ice in the colors of the rainbow. As PTA president, Mom was very organized and wasn’t afraid to take charge of matters. The other parents often relied on her for advice and leadership.
My daughters and niece, who are all grown now, also have interests in arts and crafts. I thank my mom for being our inspiration. Her legacy of crafting lives on within us. Mom is reunited with Dad now and she is probably crafting away and crocheting gifts for her new friends. We love you and miss you dearly Mom. We appreciate all that you have done for us throughout the years.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude for your condolences and support.
Sumie Tagawa is survived by her daughters, Linda (Stephen) Tagawa-Sueyoshi and Susan Tagawa-Vasquez; grandchildren, Raquel, Nina, Angela, Allyssa, Jessica, and Allison; great-grandson, Anthony; sister-in-law, Hatsue Jane Tagawa; nephew, Koji (Fujie) Terasawa; and other relatives.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual service will be held at a later date. Please check later on the Fukui Mortuary webpage.
www.fukuimortuary.com (213) 626-0441.