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May Sugihara

May Sugihara

May Sugihara died July 17, 2014 at her home under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley. She was 97.

May Murakami was born in San Francisco May 8, 1917, the daughter of immigrant parents, Kanekichi Mizuguchi and Kogiku Murakami. She spent her childhood years with her parents and two brothers, Fred and George, and a sister, Jean, in Berkeley, California.

She worked for several years after graduating from high school and was about to enroll at the University of California when Pearl Harbor was attacked Dec. 7, 1941. She described her family's evacuation to a relocation camp in Utah in April 1942, as the low point in her life. The family lost their home and their father's dry goods business during the internment.

Jim Sugihara had also been evacuated to the Utah camp and the two met there. The couple was married in Salt Lake City, June 5, 1944.

They lived in Salt Lake City for the next 20 years, where Jim was on the faculty at the University of Utah and during which time May began undergraduate studies at the University.

They moved to Fargo, ND in 1964 when Jim accepted the position of Dean of the College of Chemistry and Physics at North Dakota State University. May returned to school at Moorhead State University and received a degree in Anthropology in 1975. She worked for five years in special education in the Fargo school system.

She belonged to faculty women's clubs at the University of Utah and NDSU and was on the YWCA boards of directors in Salt Lake City and Fargo. She was a member of PEO, the Fargo Advisory Planning Board, and of Gethsemane Cathedral in Fargo. She was a gracious hostess and an avid bridge player.

For the past some 25 years following Jim's retirement, May and Jim spent winters in Sun City, Arizona and summers at their lake cottage on Pelican Lake, Minnesota while maintaining a home in Fargo. They enjoyed interactions with different groups with some individuals common to both.

May Sugihara is survived by her husband; sons, John (Chris), Boise, Idaho; and Michael, Fargo; grandson, Brandon (Casssandra) Sugihara, Fargo; and great grandchild, Olive May, Fargo. Preceding May were her parents, and all three siblings, Fred, George, and Jean.

Memorial Service: Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:00 PM at Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral, Fargo, ND. Burial will be in the Salt Lake City Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Hospice of the Red River Valley.

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