Miya Oshita(1920 - 2013)


Miya Oshita

With a heavy heart and great sadness, the Oshita family conveys to you the passing of Miya Oshita. Miya Miyanaga Oshita, sister, mother, wife and grandmother passed away peacefully Monday, August 26, 2013, surrounded by family. She was 93 years old.

She was born Miyako Miyanaga (preferred to be called Miya) January 28, 1920 to Tetsuzo Miyanaga and Komatsu Miyanaga in Salinas, near River Road. While her parents were living near River Road, she was preceded by an older brother, Tetsushi (Tom or Lefty) Miyanaga, and then after her, a younger sister, Fusako (Sally or Sako) Miyanaga.

The family moved to a home on Davis Ranch, supplied by employer. Two more siblings came along, Mitsuko (Mickey) Miyanaga and Itsuko Miyanaga.

By working hard, Tetsuzo and Komatsu were able to save enough money to purchase land on Carr Flats in Salinas. Tetsuzo farmed the land producing lettuce and sugar beets. In winter, the low land was under water due to winter storms and lack of drainage. Tetsuzo improved the drainage through clearing the canal and clearing the land of brush.

Miya attended Spring School through the third grade. Through tutoring from older brother Tom, she learned English. Then she attended Lincoln School through sixth grade. She attended Central Grammar School then Salinas High School graduating in 1939. She was an honor student and also played tennis earning a block S.

She was active in the Young Women's Buddhist Association Basketball team "The Salinas Bluettes" helping the team win the Northern California Championship in 1938 with coach, Lloyd Urabe.

Miya attended school for Seamstress in San Francisco. After training, she worked for Yokoyama Dry Cleaners for alterations. She continued working alterations for Ernest the Taylor until WWII.

During World War II, Miya and her family were evacuated first to Salinas Assembly Center (current rodeo grounds) and then later to Poston camp II in Arizona. Two years later, she left Poston to work in Caldwell Idaho to work sugar beets and potato, unable to return to California due to the Exclusion Order. Her parents followed her to Idaho to work in the fields. In June 1943, she married her first husband, Seizo Kubota in Preston, ID. A year later, her husband Seizo went into the Army serving in Germany occupation. Her first child, Cory Kubota, was born March 1945. The Exclusion Order was lifted and the Miyanaga family heard their property in Salinas was abandoned. They feared vandalism and rushed back to California, Miya, Cory and her two parents.

The City of Salinas tried to confiscate their property, but Miya wrote the Red Cross and asked for help adding that Tom was serving in the US Army. After that, the city backed down. The property was in Tom and Miya's name.

Seizo returned to Salinas and joined Miya on the Kubota farm nearby the Miyanaga property. She bunched onions and celebrated the arrival of her second child, Sue Kubota. Her husband Seizo died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1951, only after seven years of marriage leaving Miya with two children. Seizo was only 32 years old. She was a single mother for five years and managed with help from both the Miyanaga and Kubota families.

In 1956, Miya married Frank Oshita. Together they had daughter, Jan Oshita-Tokiwa in 1958. Frank and Miya had been married for 56 years when Frank passed away in November 2012. Frank was a successful grower-packer-shipper in Salinas, a partner in Oshita Inc. Miya helped Frank start his business doing light bookkeeping for him in the beginning. She supported Frank throughout his career. She also accompanied Frank on Grower-Shipper Assoc. events.

Miya and Frank were members of the Salinas Valley Country Club and enjoyed golf in their later years as well as traveling to Europe and Asia. She also enjoyed bowling with her sister, Mickey. Miya was also a member of the Steinbeck Women's Guild and volunteered at the Steinbeck House. Miya was active all her life in the Buddhist Temple of Salinas serving as Treasurer for the Buddhist Women's Association. She also supported the JACL. She enjoyed Bonsai, Ikebana and baking, sewing and needlecraft. Miya was an avid sports fan following the SF Giants, SF Warriors and SF 49er's. Her best friends and sports buddies were Ellen Swanson and Fumi Urabe.

In their later years, Miya and Frank supported and cared for the elderly in their families and also cared for two grandchildren, Leslie Tokiwa and Kazuo Tokiwa. Family was the priority for Miya. She always wanted to make sure her family was OK and if not, she always lended support to help them out.

Miya was preceded in death by three of her four siblings, Tetsushi "Tom or Lefty" Miyanaga, Mitsuko "Mickey" Kubo and Itsuko Miyanaga. Each loss was deeply felt. We remember them and express our deepest gratitude to them and their families.

Miya is survived by Cory Kubota of Sunnyvale; daughters, Jan Oshita-Tokiwa of Salinas, her husband Larry, Sue Kubota of Sunnyvale; granddaughter, Leslie (Tokiwa) Gopalan of Osaka, Japan; grandson, Kazuo M. Tokiwa of San Francisco; and Miya's sister, Fusako "Sally" Nakai of Burlingame.

Memorial service will be held Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m., at Buddhist Temple of Salinas, 14 California St., Salinas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Buddhist Temple of Salinas.

Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. Online condolences to www.struveandlaporte.com.

Funeral Home

Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel
41 West San Luis Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 424-0311

Published in The Salinas Californian on Aug. 31, 2013