Dr. Mary Sakaguchi Oda, (93) Remembered at a very private memorial service officiated by Reverend Dr. Y Richard Kuyama of Centenary United Methodist Church on November 2, 2013, the family and close friends of Dr. Mary Sakaguchi Oda celebrated her life which ended suddenly and unexpectedly on October 18, 2013. She was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with her husband James "Jimmy" S. Oda, who passed on October 11, 2009 and next to her son Eugene David who passed away in 1976 in a tragic car accident.
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The family requests that in lieu of Koden, that donations may be made to the San Fernando Valley JACL (Phil Shigekuni 818-893-1581) or the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center (Lois Okui 818-899-1989)
Born March 15, 1920 in California, she was the fifth child of 8 born to Shiichiro and Hisaji Sakaguchi who had immigrated from Nagano, Japan. She graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1937 and UCLA in 1941. Her medical education at UC Berkeley was interrupted by her relocation to the internment camp Manzanar, but she was able to complete her medical degree after the war at Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, which is now part of Drexel University. In gratitude for the medical scholarships she was granted, Dr. Oda established the Eugene David Oda Endowed Scholarship Fund in December 2003, to which she contributed annually and with great pride.
Dr. Oda's career began at Pacific State Hospital in Pomona, but her legacy stemmed from her joining her brother, Dr. Sanbo Sakaguchi, a surgeon in practice in San Fernando, and her sister Lily who worked as the lab technician in the office. There she was professionally fulfilled from 1960 through the next 46 years, working assiduously and caringly. She thrived on assisting in deliveries and throughout the rest of her life, she was approached by patients who appreciated her for the treatment they received or the babies she delivered.
Dr. Mary Sakaguchi Oda is survived by Rosemarie (Jack) Christy, Helen Nina (George) Abe, and Merijane Lee. She is further survived by her grandchildren Matthew Christy of Washington, Adam (Shelly) Christy, Tina (Ross) Porter, Mark Lee, Stephanie Lee, Jimmy Abe, Rosemeri Abe and great-grandchildren; Zoey, Helena, and Colton. Her brother Dr. Bo (Iku) Sakaguchi survives as well, along with his children and the children of her sister Lily Thibodeaux.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 3, 2013