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Dorothy Toshiko Sugawara

1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Dorothy Toshiko Sugawara Obituary
Dorothy Toshiko Sugawara, aged 85, died peacefully on August 21, 2017, in Sacramento, CA, after suffering a stroke on May 7, 2017. Dorothy was born on February 22, 1932 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was the second of three children and the only daughter of Alma and Isami Kuboi. Dorothy was a gifted pianist since her childhood and earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in music from Columbia University. While studying in New York, Dorothy met and fell in love with her husband to be, Seiji Sugawara, also a Hawaii-born student at nearby Syracuse University. The often-told story is that Dorothy played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata at a small dinner party and upon hearing her play, Seiji fell madly in love with her. Dorothy and Seiji married on August 5, 1959. The young couple soon had two children, Keith and Robert and in 1963, moved from New York City to the San Francisco Bay Area to raise their family. Dorothy was a very popular and gifted piano teacher and was very involved with the Music Teacher's Association of California. In 1977, Seiji obtained a job teaching at Mendocino Community College, so the Sugawara family moved to Ukiah. Dorothy quickly established herself as one of the premier piano teachers in the region. The years of living in Ukiah were happy and fulfilling for Dorothy as she pursued her passion of teaching piano and supporting Seiji in his political and community interests. They made many close and wonderful friends in Ukiah. In 2003, Seiji passed away unexpectedly, however, Dorothy continued to teach piano in Ukiah for another 11 years. In 2014, Dorothy retired and moved to Sacramento to be closer to her younger son, Robert. Dorothy is survived by her two sons, Keith (Heather) and Robert (Tom), her two grandchildren, Reid and Riley, and her cat, Zetta. Dorothy also leaves behind many friends. We will all miss her very much and will never forget her strength, her sense of humor, her positive outlook on life and her love of teaching the piano. A private celebration of her life was held in Sacramento, however, memorial donations can be sent in her name to SPACE, 508 W. Perkins, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Published in Ukiah Daily Journal on Sept. 10, 2017
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