Our sweet Mitsie passed away peacefully in her sleep Monday morning, August 8th in Bakersfield, California. She was a loving sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend who never refused a request for help.
Born on the family farm in Alhambra, Mitsie graduated from Alhambra High in 1936. After graduation, she worked on the farm until the family, in 1942, was forced to move to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Cody, Wyoming. A few years later, she was able to accept a clerical job in Minneapolis, Minnesota through the sponsorship of a Presbyterian minister. On an arranged date, she met her future husband Sadao Kinoshita, who was attending a U.S. Army Japanese Language School. After a brief courtship, they were married in 1945. With the end of WWII, Sadao, "Sid," was stationed in Japan as an interpreter, and Mitsie moved with her family to Hemet, California where her daughter Barbara was born.
In 1947, they settled in Bakersfield and raised their family; four more children were born: Stanley, Frances, Kathryn, and Larry. Mitsie was employed by the Bakersfield City School District in food service, which allowed her to be home when her children were not in school. In her retirement years, she happily worked part time at Tatsuno Chiropractic until a fall last year forced her to fully retire. An inspiration to her young coworkers, this job kept her young and vibrant.
She was an excellent seamstress, able to create outfits that her daughters requested after perusing the latest Seventeen Magazine. Another pleasure in her life was watching her children, especially her grandchildren, participate in sports. She cheered through hundreds of baseball, football, soccer, and softball games, plus golf tournaments and swim meets. If she was not watching her grandchildren, she enjoyed following women's golf on TV and reading a good book.
After Sid's death in 1990, Mitsie enjoyed traveling with her siblings. A trip in 2011 with a daughter and a grandson to the opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center gave her an important opportunity to share her experiences of being interned. Moving to Kern City in 2004, she joined a wonderful group of residents who exercised three days a week at the community center. Lead by Lorie Fox, the group became family, and Mitsie never missed a session. She dearly missed her friends when she moved from Kern City.
Mitsie was preceded in death by her husband Sadao, her parents, four siblings, and son-in-law Carl Nietzel. Left to cherish her memory is her younger brother Bob Shimizu, her children Barbara (Bob) Okada, Stanley (Irene) Kinoshita, Frances (Dennis) Scott, Kathryn Kinoshita, and Larry Kinoshita, her grandchildren Cindy (Jaime) Masuda, Greg (Kristeen) Scott, Jeff Scott, Matt (Tanna) Scott, Jared and Kaley Kinoshita, and her great granddaughter Bari Scott, whom she called "Barley." The family would like to thank the caregivers at Almarie Guest House for their kind and caring touch and Hoffman Hospice staff. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, 1539 Road 19, Powel, Wyoming 82435.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2016, at 11 AM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Stine Road, Bakersfield, California 93309.
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