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Setsuko Goto


1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Setsuko Goto Obituary

Setsuko Goto, passed away peacefully at home on June 2, 2017, just nine days after her 90th birthday, surrounded by her kids, grandkids and great- grandkids.

She was born Setsuko Kuroda, on May 24, 1927, in Sacramento, CA, the youngest of four children, to Tokutaro and Tomeno Kuroda.

She was preceded in death by husband, Bill Goto; son-in-law, Robert Kusunoki; and brothers, Shig and Hideo.

Growing up, young "Sets" had impaired vision, which would become a recurring challenge throughout her adult life, well after she received her first pair of glasses.

During WWII, Sets was interned with her family in Poston, AZ, and later transferred 900 miles north to California's Tule Lake camp. After the war, Sets relocated to the Los Angeles area, as a seamstress for merchandise destined for top established retailers, such as "The Bon Marché (1890 of Seattle), Saks 5th Avenue (1902 of NY), and Neiman Marcus (1907 of TX)".

Sets would return to Sacramento, working as a housekeeper in the area, with periodic visits to her sister in Oakland. She began dating her future husband, Bill Goto, and they were married on November 18, 1951. This would be the start of a long life of farming in Yuba City.

Sets would be the devoted family nucleus over the many acres and years of cannery tomatoes, fruit trees, vegetable and fruit stands, which were often hand-sorted and packed for the Sacramento produce markets. She eventually joined Bill working in the local plant office of corporate fruit farming and packing company, Valley View.

Each summer, Sets would be host to her mother and other relatives, with everyone busy with siphon irrigation, peach fuzz, operating tractors, and preparing numerous meals. As a family of ten, eating out was something rarely experienced. Neighbor kids loved the Goto home, because it always seemed like they were having a party! Among the farm discussions would be "the difference between a plum and a prune", or "is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit?"; comparing watermelons, like "a Texas Rattlesnake", "Florida Giant", or a "New Hampshire Midget."

Her decades of influence and style of raising her family yielded something she became immensely comforted and proud of in later years, the relationship with her kids. Whether by design or accident, after leaving the farm, each child developed skills and personality, with their own families, careers and residences, yet NEVER lost those strong bonds with Mom, Dad and youngest David. This "tradition" continued with her grandchildren, and it brought her great joy.

Post-Yuba City retirement in 1992, would relocate the family to Elk Grove. She and Bill looked forward to selling the Nakano's strawberries in Sacramento markets, and years of playing card games with local relatives and friends. During this time, she would be declared "legally blind".

In 2006, Sets, Bill and David relocated to Fresno, to be closer to the majority of her kids and support. Sets would try hard to extend her ability to play card games and interact with family as long as possible, until full blindness, reduced mobility and increasing loss of hearing limited such activities.

A surprise 60th Anniversary celebration was held in 2011, and they were thrilled (and very surprised!) that family and friends came from Hawaii to New Jersey! Bill was most attentive to her increasing needs until his passing in 2012.

Setsuko is survived by her eight children and spouses, Denise, Barbara and Arthur, Steven and Nora, Gary and Laraine, Douglas and Heather, Jeffrey and Darla, Brian and LaDonna, and David; fifteen grandchildren, Bethany and Clinton, Mark, Sara and Matias, Lauren and Kellen, Erin and Brian, Austin, Kira, John, Brian Jr., Alexa, and Jasper; two great-grandchildren, Zoe and Greyson; sister Jane Tsushima and sister-in-law Janet Kuroda; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Sets will be remembered for her smile, outstanding memory, crocheting various items out of Target plastic bags, her county fair awards, and love of the Sacramento Kings, San Francisco 49ers and Giants, but most of all, for her love of family. Newly discovered "love letters" from Bill to Sets in 1951, written almost daily for six months, describe their love and devotion to each other, and their future family. By all accounts, they fulfilled their dreams!

Setsuko's memorial service, followed by a luncheon, will be held on Friday, July 7, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at Parlier Buddhist Church, 360 S. Newmark Ave., Parlier, CA.

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Published in Appeal Democrat on June 29, 2017
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