June Sato Itami
1920 - 2012
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June Sato Itami died peacefully at her home in Nampa, Idaho on January 14, 2012. June was born on June 22, 1920, in Seattle, Washington. Her father was a successful automobile mechanic and her mother an office clerk in Seattle until the family was forced to move into a Japanese internment camp in 1942. They were allowed to bring only two suitcases and June chose to bring her violin instead of a second suitcase. At Camp Harmony in Puyallup, Washington, June met Edward Daizo "Dyke" Itami. She was a shy musician and he was a popular all-sports athlete from Seattle. Once the internees were transferred to the camp in Minidoka, Idaho, June and Dyke were separated as she was allowed to work as a nanny in Chicago while Dyke was given a work-release to work for local farmers. Dyke proposed to June via mail and she came back to Idaho where they were married on December 18, 1943. Despite the anti-Japanese sentiment, there were people whose kindness helped them get established in Nampa. After days of searching for someone who would rent a home to them, a kind Norwegian man rented them a nice house. The Methodist Church welcomed them and June sang in the Master Chorale, directed the children's choir, taught Sunday school, and played her violin for the congregation. Her performances brought some members tears of joy. A friend, Carl Sears, loaned them money that enabled them to purchase their farm outside Nampa where they lived for 50 years.
The things in life June loved most were music and children. June and Dyke raised 8 children (4 boys and 4 girls) on their farm in Nampa all of whom she was very proud. June continued her violin studies and started teaching violin lessons to children around 1960. Through the years, she taught hundreds of children, sometimes as many as 60 students and she loved every one of them. For those who could not afford to pay, she accepted things like milk, bookkeeping, and even a pony!
June was concert mistress for the Caldwell Community Orchestra and second chair violinist for the Boise Philharmonic. She was also involved in the Nampa Musicale and served as the Chairman of "Crusade for Strings" for many years. In 1976, she was selected to perform in the Idaho Centennial Orchestra that performed in Washington DC and Philadelphia.
In 1967, she was introduced to the Suzuki violin instruction method and began teaching students 3-6 years old. She traveled to Japan five times to study at the Shinichi Suzuki School of Music and became a personal friend of Mr. Suzuki. In 1972, at age 55, she founded and directed the Idaho Suzuki Institute which hosted annual music camps in Nampa for hundreds of music (violin, viola, cello, and piano) students and brought in instructors from around the world. She was also invited to serve as instructor at many Suzuki Institutes throughout the United States.
June's beautiful soprano voice and her violin playing delighted many people. She loved performing at community events such as the Nazarene Church's "No Greater Love," "The Living Christmas Tree," and other music events. She encouraged her students to perform at various community events and senior centers. At age 80, she applied to go to an Itzhak Perlman workshop at Julliard in NYC and was shocked and delighted when she was selected as a participant.
June enjoyed writing
and submitted community articles to Nampa's Idaho
Free Press for many years. She also served as secretary for the Japanese American League. She was honored with many awards such as Idaho Statesman's Distinguished Citizen and the Book of Golden
deeds from the Nampa
Exchange Club.
June is survived by her husband, Dyke, and her children, Dennis (Kay) Itami, Richard (Terry) Itami, Ronald Itami, Robert Itami, Judy (Wayne) Crosby, Janine (Chris) Hopkins, Joanne Itami (Tim Craig), and Joyce (Robert) Arima; her sister, Amy Doi, in Seattle; eight grandchildren Melanie and Jill King, Justin and Mariko Hopkins, Marc and Katie Arima, Linda and Paul Craig, and Derren Crosby ; and one great-grandchild, Niaylah King. She was preceded in death by her parents, Zenshiro and Suye (Takahashi) Kikoshima; her brother, Ray Kikoshima; her sister, Hana Mano; and her grandsons, John and Jeff Itami.
The family wishes to give special thanks to Megan, Tanya, and Laura from Tender Heart Care, and Horizon Home Health and Hospice for their excellent care and services.
A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 2717 12th Avenue Road in Nampa on Saturday, January 21, at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Idaho Suzuki Association in Nampa.
Please visit www.alsipfuneralchapel.com to view the online obituary and leave condolences for the family. The family has placed their trust in Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel in Nampa., for the final arrangements. 208 466-3545

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Jan. 18, 2012.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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20 entries
January 27, 2012
Just a word to express fond memories of June & sympathy to the family for their loss. We were adjoining neighbors ,the Roy & Martha Hensen familey.
Butch & Joyce (Hensen ) Ryals
January 27, 2012
Even though June was recognized internationally as a teacher trainer, she still looked for new ways to learn. She encouraged the rest of us local faculty to join her when traveling to Suzuki teacher training conferences, saying that in order to be the best teachers, we must continue to be good students. We traveled to California, Edmonton, Utah, Portland, Chicago and Japan together. For 2 to 3 decades, we worked closely together at the Idaho Suzuki Institute that she founded. She was an inspiration to the entire music community. We will try to continue the legacy she has left for us to follow. I do miss her.
Peggy Miller
January 23, 2012
I'm so sorry to hear of June's passing. She was my violin/viola teacher in the '80's. I enjoyed studying under her guidance & patient manner. What a dear woman.
Kori Stevens
January 23, 2012
Joyce, Robert, Marc and Kati,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of loss. Our deepest sympathy go out to you and your family.


Cindee, Tommy and Daniel (DJ) Yamamoto
Cindee Yamamoto
January 23, 2012
June was truly an amazing woman who left a great impact on the music community. I toured in the Bicentennial orchestra with her as well, in 1976, what a great trip. I hope I can be halfas active at even 70 as she was at 80 and beyond. My condolences go out to her family.
Rae Ann Norell
January 23, 2012
January 23, 2012
January 23, 2012
January 21, 2012
June was an exquisite musician, a caring teacher and a lovely human being. The Suzuki community sends their love, condolences and prayers to your family.
Irene Mitchell
January 20, 2012
Mrs. Itami changed my life. She taught me Suzuki Method violin from when I was 10 years old, and because of her I went to Japan after high school to study from Dr. Suzuki himself. (Now going on my 20th year here.) She never gave up on me--even on weeks when I didn't come ready for my lesson. When I play my violin, I always think of her. She was and is a steadying influence in my life. Itami Sesei, arigato gozaimashita!
Eric Francis
January 20, 2012
My deepest sympathy to the family of a sweet mother and lady. Sincere thoughts and prayers are with you!
Teresa Corder Steel
January 20, 2012
This will be a familiar sight for many of you. June teaching grandaughter Suzuki violin
Joanne Craig
January 19, 2012
I will always be eternally grateful to June for bringing Elaine Worley to introduce the Suzuki Piano to Nampa in 1975. I have been teaching Suzuki Piano for 37 years. June brougt many piano master teachers to the Suzuki Institute to train us. She had a very gracious spirit. June we will miss you but we know that you are playing your violin and teaching. Thank You so Much.
Edith Stephenson
January 19, 2012
Mrs. (June) Itami was my violin teacher through junior high and senior high school. When I was in the 8th grade, she suggested I begin playing in the College of Idaho community orchestra where she was the concert master. It was a transformative opportunity! Because of this experience, I decided to attend the College of Idaho and continued playing in the orchestra until I graduated. Soon afterward, I successfully auditioned for the Boise Philharmonic and had 13 more years of wonderful musical experiences.

I thank Mrs. Itami for teaching me, believing in me and giving me opportunities that unquestionably transformed my life. She will always have a special place in my heart.
Jeannette Bowman
January 19, 2012
We are sadden by the passing of June, a great lady and champion of musicians. She will be missed by her fellow club members in Nampa Musicale. She did so much to make America and Nampa a truly musical community. May God bless her family and comfort them to know she has joined the Lord's heavenly choir and that her music will continue.
Melissa Warnick, Nampa Musicale President
Melissa Warnick
January 19, 2012
I first met June on the last ASTA tour to Japan in 1970. I was impressed then with her sweet manner and dedication to the ideas in which she believed strongly. Each time I saw her thereafter at conferences, she was cheerful and so lovely to be around. My condolances go out to her family, and students who had the pleasure to study with such a great lady.
January 18, 2012
As a member of the Methodist Church I felt priveledged to hear June play. I am so grateful for her talemt and her kindness, both of which I miss very much.
Brenda (Burri) Cronin
January 18, 2012
I was one of her violin students in the 90s. I loved learning from her, as she knew so much. She will be missed.
Tammy (Mabey) Burton
January 18, 2012
June was always so gracious. Both of my daughters studied with her and my oldest daughter, Jayna, has gone on to teach orchestra and private lessons. June will be missed very much.
Mike Poe
January 18, 2012
What a great lady! I had the privilege of singing in her children's choir when I was in elementary school. I went on to play the violin because of her influence in my life. Although quiet and shy, she had an incredible influence on my life because of her example and passion. I have no doubt there are hundreds more like me whose lives were greatly influenced and touched by this amazing lady! My sincere sympathy to all of her friends and family!
Patricia Sweat-Christy
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