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Lillian Etow

1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Lillian Etow
June 16, 1929 - June 10, 2018
Longtime resident of Watsonville, Lillian Etow passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on June 10th, 2018. She was born Chiyoko Yoshizumi, the fourth and youngest child of Heigoro and Tsuru Yoshizumi on June 16th, 1929. Her parents were sharecroppers in Watsonville where she spent her early childhood and attended elementary school in Hall District. At the age of 13, she and her family were sent to the Salinas Rodeo Grounds in 1942 after the start of WWII. There they were detained for four months before being transferred to Poston II internment camp in the Arizona desert, where she lived in Block 216 #7 for over three years. While interned in Poston, she made many lifelong friends. After their release in 1945, the Yoshizumi family moved to Hayward to work at a flower nursery. Lillian finished her high school years in Oakland and then she and her family moved back to Watsonville for work. Here she would meet her future husband Shigeru (Shig) Etow. As it turns out he had also been interned at Poston II just a few barracks away yet they had never met. They married on January 6, 1952 in Watsonville and had five children. While raising her kids she helped work in the fields of Shig's strawberry farm for many years. They were married for over 50 years before Shig passed away in 2004. Lillian's love of children and hard work ethic brought her to apply at the Pajaro Unified School District where she became a teacher's aide for Calabasas, Bradley, Amesti and Ohlone elementary schools. Working with the kids in her later years was her calling. She had a special way of outreaching to children and encouraging the best from them. Her greatest joys in life were her grandchildren. Lillian embodied the essence of "Grandma", from baking amazing apple pies and turnovers from her own trees, making delicious homecooked meals, to knitting and crocheting beautiful sweaters and blankets. She enjoyed being a member of the Adult Buddhist Association (ABA) at the Watsonville Buddhist Temple. She loved going to her grandsons' baseball games, watching the San Francisco Giants, family and senior casino outings, and tending to her garden. Lillian loved people. She listened with an open heart and always provided positive words of encouragement. She was the ultimate optimist.
Lillian was preceded in death by her husband Shigeru Etow, her sister Kay Shimonishi, and grandson Christopher Alan Levy. She is survived by her brother Harry Yoshizumi (Mitsue), sister Florence Matsushita, son Richard Etow (Mary), daughters Carole Bayne (Bill), Julie Etow (Charles Bracher), Lisa Etow, Jennifer Etow Levy (Carlin Schelstraete), grandchildren Katie, Chloe, Brett, Connor, Ruby, Augustus, great-granddaughter Charlotte and numerous nieces and nephews.
Private graveside services were held at the Pajaro Valley Memorial Park.
We invite you to share your memories, photographs and stories on Lillian's online guestbook. You can find the guestbook searching by name or browsing here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/santacruzsentinel/browse
Lillian's family would like to thank Hospice of Santa Cruz for their kind support.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice

View the online memorial for Lillian Etow
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 1, 2018
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