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
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