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Sadao (Sud) Itamura


1931 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Sadao (Sud) Itamura Obituary

Sadao (Sud) Itamura, known to thousands of students as "Mr. I", passed away peacefully at his home in Yuba City, CA, on January 26, 2016, at the age of 84. The eldest of two children, Sadao was born in Sacramento in 1931 to his Japanese American parents, Teiso and Mine Itamura. The son of migrant farm laborers, Sadao worked long hours before and after school to help support his family.

During WWII, at age 11, the family was ordered to the Tule Lake Relocation Center. Sadao developed a love for baseball and a passion for history and geology during his internment at Tule Lake, searching for arrowheads and exploring. After four years, the family left Tule Lake in 1946 and moved to Nyssa, OR. Sadao attended high school, played football, baseball and helped the family by working the in the fields harvesting potatoes and sugar beets.

Soon after high school, Sadao enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Korean War. Sadao, proud to serve, loved the Corps and what it stood for; honor, courage, commitment, discipline, teamwork and brotherhood.  After his service in the Corps, Sadao moved to Yuba City and worked with his parents on the family peach orchard. To make ends meet, he also worked a number of jobs to help support his parents - including work as a truck driver and grocery clerk.  After a short time working as a postal carrier, he made a decision that would lead him to his true passion.

Over 20 years after graduating from high school, he attended Chico State, graduated, and went on to earn Master's Degrees in both Geography and Geology. After graduating he began his career as an educator. He quickly discovered a love for coaching and spent over 30 years teaching and coaching generations of students at Tierra Buena School. Through basketball, athletics and education, Sadao taught his students what it meant to be a good human. For years, Mr. I spent nearly every lunch hour, break, and hours after school with his students. He emphasized good ethics, equality, hard work, determination, focus and perseverance. Throughout the years, students have kept in touch with Mr. I - expressing appreciation and gratitude.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Irene; son Matt (Monica) and grandchildren Ann Marie, Claire and Nikko; son Ted; son Scott; brother Minoru; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

He is preceded in death by his father, Teiso and mother, Mine.

The family wishes to thank caregivers Becky, Veronica and Anna for their compassionate and loving care.

The family welcomes all who wish to remember Sadao to a memorial service scheduled for Saturday, February 13th, 2016 at 1 pm at the Marysville Buddhist Church located at 125 "B" Street, Marysville. Refreshments will be served following the service.

As per Sadao's wishes, all friends are welcome to wear casual attire, as the service will be a celebration of his life rather than a time of sorrow.

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Published in Appeal Democrat from Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, 2016
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