Masae (Jean) Sakagami, beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, died peacefully in her sleep, early in the afternoon on Sunday, October 11th at Altancare Adult Family Home in Renton at the age of 98 years old.
She was born on January 16, 1922 to Sutejiro Saito and Koshige (Fujiwara) Saito who farmed, ran a greenhouse, and sold their produce and goldfish from their family’s roadside stand in South Park, Seattle. She graduated salutatorian, 2nd in her class, at Foster High School in 1940.
She worked on the family farm until she was forced to relocate with her family to the Japanese-American Internment Camps during WWII. They were first sent to the Pinedale Assembly Center for three months in 1942; then, they were then moved to the Tule Lake Interment Camp in Northern California; and finally, were moved to the Topaz, Utah Interment Camp. After the war, they returned to their family farm in South Park.
She met and married Matsuo Sakagami in 1948 and had two daughters. They lived in Auburn, WA for the rest of their lives together.
Jean worked for garment factories, local green-houses, and at Ernst/Malmo in their garden department; she even learned how to operate a forklift! She worked hard all her life to help support her family.
She enjoyed fishing, crabbing, clam digging, oyster harvesting, mushroom picking, and huckleberry picking. Jean taught her children and grandchildren how to harvest and enjoy the fruits of the land. She was an avid gardener, loved plants and flowers, and cultivated their own family vegetable garden. She was creative and loved to craft: knitting, crocheting, doing stitchery projects, and would improvise making her own patterns and projects out of wood. Jean was an expert seam-
stress and could do the same with her sewing projects.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her older sister, Kiku Konishi, younger brother, Kaichi Saito and younger sister, Chiyo Saito. She is survived by her younger sister, June Kosai; her daughters, Sandra Cheng and Nancy Fye; and four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. She will be forever loved and missed!
A burial service is planned for the immediate family and a celebration of Jean’s life will be held at a later date, as soon as we are able to gather together safely.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The White River Buddhist Temple, Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC), or NVC foundation. (NVC funds go directly to the veteran, while the NVC foundation's funds go to non-veterans, or veteran's family members and is their fundraising organization.)
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