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Grace Hideko Nixon

1921 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Grace Hideko Nixon Obituary
NIXON, Grace Hideko Umezawa (94) Beloved sister, aunt, great-aunt, and friend, Grace Hideko Umezawa Nixon died peacefully on January 16 in her home in Sherman Oaks, California. Grace was a cellist, nurse, flight attendant, philanthropist, and the wife of the late Lewis Nixon. Captain Lewis Nixon was a member of Easy Company, 101st Airborne Division, during WWII. The men of Easy Company were the subject of the HBO series Band of Brothers, based on the book of the same name by Stephen E. Ambrose. Grace was born September 26, 1921 in Calexico, California. Her parents, Kiyokichi and Sachiko Dendo Umezawa, raised Grace and her siblings Lillian Hinako, Florence Himeko, Dorothy Hisako, and George Washington Hiroshi in southern California. Grace studied piano and cello, and was attending San Diego State University as a music major in 1942 when her studies were interrupted by President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, that authorized the internment of Japanese Americans. Told to bring only what they could carry, Grace and her family were taken to the assembly area at Santa Anita Racetrack. Even when housed in converted horse stalls, Grace showed her lively spirit-she later recalled dancing the jitterbug at Santa Anita, with Dorothy and some "cute boys from Pasadena." From Santa Anita, Grace and her family were sent to the Colorado River Relocation Center, an internment camp in Poston, Arizona. Unhappy in Poston, Grace courageously changed the direction of her life when an opportunity arose to apply to nursing school-a way to demonstrate her support for her country in wartime and to leave camp behind. She went to the Mayo Clinic and became a nurse. Over the next many years, Grace was an independent, undaunted working woman. She became a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. She worked at a VA Hospital in Brooklyn. She still loved music and would take her cello on the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan for lessons. When Grace decided to move back to the West Coast, she drove alone, cross country, then worked at a VA Hospital in Los Angeles. Eventually, she bought her own home in Sherman Oaks. In 1956, Grace married Lewis Nixon. In marriage, Grace and Lewis had a wonderful, loving life. They happily travelled the world, listened to music, supported charitable causes, and raised pets-among them Anubis the cat, Nicholas the one-eyed dog, and Peter the rabbit-as well as feeding a neighborhood family of raccoons and the annually migrating Mr. and Mrs. Duck. Grace and Lewis often spent time with their nieces and nephews, teaching them cards and backgammon and playing for keeps over the children's allowance money. After Lewis passed in 1995, Grace continued to be affectionately described as a "Canasta shark." She remained subscribed to the LA Philharmonic, and continued to live her life as she is named…with grace. Along with Dick and Ethel Winters, Grace took part in many of the events celebrating the development and success of Band of Brothers. She loved roses and studied horticulture at UCLA learning how to better nurture the beautiful roses she grew in her backyard. An avid sports fan, Grace faithfully followed the Dodgers. She was an active member of the Crossway Church of the San Fernando Valley and remained a much-loved presence in the lives of her friends and family. Grace is survived by her brother George and sister Dorothy, her stepson Michael and grandsons Miguel and Will, fourteen nieces and nephews, numerous grand- and great grandnieces and grandnephews, and by her devoted cat, Binky. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2016 10:30 AM at Crossway Church of the San Fernando Valley, 9610 Haddon Ave., Pacoima, CA 91333. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Grace Nixon Foundation, which donates annually to Grace's favorite charities. Donations may be sent to the Grace Nixon Foundation, c/o Hanson Bridgett LLP, 80 E. Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Suite 3E, Larkspur, CA 94939. www.fukuimortuary.com (213) 626-0441
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 27 to Jan. 31, 2016
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