Meri T. Wada|
On February 20, 2014, Meri Wada passed away after a series of health challenges. She had reached her 82nd year.
Meri will be remembered for her kind, patient and independent nature. She was a very loyal and generous family member who extended her deep and humble dedication to friends and students in the University of Washington Drama Department where she achieved a 38 year career. Meri had a strong work ethic, keen precision and eye for details which enabled her to excel in costume design, sewing and needlework, but she also shared a creative and playful side. Upon retirement in 1997, department colleagues honored her with the Meri Wada Award for Costuming which is given each year to a deserving undergraduate.
Born July 9, 1931 in Wapato, Washington, Meri was a Nisei or second generation Japanese American. She grew up on the family farm and attended Wapato Elementary School until the early months of 1942. Then because of the war with Japan, she, her family and all the Japanese living on the West Coast were forcefully ordered from their homes and confined in many camps in states located away from the West Coast. The three years of camp life in Wyoming were harsh and uncomfortable, but Meri's family, like many others, persevered and continued their education and lives. After they were released, they moved to Nyssa, Oregon, where Meri attended high school. Eventually her family returned to Wapato where she graduated in 1949.
After high school, Meri moved to Seattle and attended Edison Technical School where she learned her craft of sewing and was hired by the University of Washington in 1959. For almost four decades, she contributed to numerous productions and events and mentored many students. In her personal life, Meri loved animals and had an amazing green thumb (and fingernails). She was known for her sewing, crocheting, cooking and baking, all of which often surfaced at special occasions and holidays.
When her mother and other family members needed assistance, Meri would be one of the first to visit, bringing her selfless energy and strength. Her connection to family was nurtured during trips with her sisters to Japan where she met her cousins and aunts and discovered her ancestral roots. In spite of the physical distance from one another, Meri remained very close to her sisters throughout her lifetime.
Meri is preceded in death by parents Sankichi and Tsuneye Wada, brother Mas, sisters Fumiye and Emiko and nephews Guy and Corey. She is survived by siblings Frances Yasunaga of Seattle, Washington, Tad Wada of Mill Creek, Washington, Alyce Yoshikai of Salem, Oregon and Sara Hino of Colorado Springs, Colorado as well as numerous nephews and nieces, all who miss her warm spirit. May she truly rest in peace.
At Meri's request, there will be no service.
Remembrances may be made to the
or to the U of W School of Drama, Box 353950, Seattle, WA, 98195 for the Meri Wada Award for Costuming.
Published in The Seattle Times on Mar. 23, 2014