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Katherine Plummer

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Katherine Plummer Obituary
Katherine J. Plummer


Katherine Jean Plummer was born February 1, 1922, the daughter of Arthur P. and Edna M. Plummer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh.

After teaching several years in Wisconsin she came to California in 1949 and lived in her beloved Yosemite for two years. She came to San Francisco and worked as a journalist before embarking on the first of many sea voyages and other travels that would take her all over the world. Kathy (as her friends called her) worked in Australia and New Zealand in 1965 and 1966.

From 1969 to 1998 she lived in Japan where she found her true calling in teaching English at the Tokyo YWCA College and Kyoritsu Women's University. Several of her textbooks on teaching English as a second language were published by the Tokyo YWCA. Having a passion for word games, she wrote a book called "Quizzes for Fun and Knowledge" which was published in Japan and Korea.

With a strong interest and curiosity about early Japanese-American relations, she did research, translated and wrote several books on sea-drifters - the first Japanese to come to America. "The Shogun's Reluctant Ambassadors" was published in Tokyo and in Oregon. A Japanese translation was published by NHK Broadcasting Co. in Tokyo. "A Japanese Glimpse At The Outside World" was published in Canada. Her translation of "Funaosa Nikki" (A Captain's Diary) about Captain Jukichi, the first recorded instance in which a Japanese reached America was the first rendition of this case in English.

After retiring from formal teaching, along with her book projects, she enjoyed teaching groups of Japanese women in Tokyo.

Katherine is survived by her brother, Mark and his wife Jean of Green Bay, Wisconsin, several nieces and nephews and cousins. She leaves many close friends in Wisconsin, San Francisco, Tokyo and other places.

At her request there will be no funeral services. Her ashes will be scattered at sea between Japan and America.

Memorials may be made to The Yosemite Conservancy or to the .

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 17, 2013
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