March 5, 1917 – January 8, 2023

Louise Aiko Kawamoto passed away of natural causes on January 8, 2023. She was 105. Born in 1917, in Los Angeles, Calif., she was the second of eight children born to Rikimatsu and Konobu Horii, who were originally from Hiroshima, Japan. Born Aiko Horii on March 5, 1917, she grew up on the family’s farm in Redondo Beach, Calif., and graduated from Redondo Union High School in 1935.

In 1942, the Horii family was ordered to relocate to the Gila River Internment Camp in Arizona. It was there that she met and married photographer and teacher George Kawamoto. George was a graduate of USC in cinematography, and after the war the couple moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually to Detroit, Mich., where they opened their own photo studio. With George taking the photos, and Louise running the business and office, Kawamoto Studios became very well known. Clients included Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Lord & Taylor and Hudson department stores, the J. Walter Thompson ad agency, and many others.

The beautiful couple were regulars in the Detroit social circles. They were best friends with Henry Ford II and real estate developer Lawrence LoPatin. Articles in the Detroit Free Press highlighted their Mies van der Rohe Mid-century modern glass house, their Japanese garden, and their film developing for the mysterious Howard Hughes.

After retiring in 1989, they relocated to Escondido, Calif., and soon had a new group of loyal friends. George died in 1995. The couple had no children, but in Southern California, Louise was able to spend time with her siblings and their many children and grandchildren. Louise maintained her style, wit and savvy (and a full head of beautiful hair) until she passed away just two months shy of 106. She was predeceased by her two sisters, Helen (Jack) Okano and Mary (Kazuo) Kajiyama; and her brothers, George (Nancy), Howard (Shiz, Paula), Jim (Sally, Jeanette), Harry (Chita) and Robert (Mary) Horii. Her last surviving brothers, Robert and Harry, died in 2021 and 2022. She is survived by her three sisters-in-law, Paula, Jeanette and Mary; and by many beloved nieces, nephews, godchildren and their offspring.
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