Sam at the age of 92, passed away on October 21, 2013. Sam was born and raised in Lodi, CA where he attended and graduated from Lodi High School. At the time of World War II the Fujinaka Family was relocated to an internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. Sam continued to farm in Colorado until he entered into the Army and was in the armored division and then the Nisei Military Intelligence Service (MIS). On February 23, 2012, Sam was a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Nisei Military Intelligence Service.
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Once out of the service Sam resumed his passion for farming in Lodi and married Ruby Matsuhiro. Sam was preceded in death by his wife Ruby, sister Tamiyo Kaida and brother Keiji Fujinaka. Sam is survived by his three daughters Sandra (Gary) Kanemori, Kathleen Skeels, and Cynthia (Brian) Sasaki. He had four grandchildren. Sam was a member of the Buddhist Church of Lodi and the Japanese American Citizens League.
The optimism Sam had about life and his resiliency and tenacity kept him moving forward. Friends would say "Sam was Sam in good times and bad". He treated everyone fairly, kindly, had a sense of humor, a zest for life, a genuine and brilliant smile that he shared often. He knew how to be a good friend. He would listen thoughtfully and had a natural gift for communicating.
Sam's daughters say "Give Dad an idea and he will pursue it. Give Dad a song and he will be the first on the dance floor. Give Dad a challenge and he will tell you to never say "I can't". Give Dad a joke and he will be smiling before you even get to the punch-line. Give Dad soil and he will grow opportunity. Give Dad a moment with a friend and he will remember that moment forever. Give Dad a hand and he will be the first to say "thank you". Give Dad a life and he will live every moment."
A private memorial service was held on November 16, 2013 at the Buddhist Church of Lodi. The Sam Fujinaka Family would like to thank all of his family and friends who have been a part of his life.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Dec. 14 to Dec. 21, 2013