Masako Hamada
Masako Hamada
Masako Hamada
Masako Hamada

Obituary of Masako Hamada


Masako Marcie” (Takahashi) Hamada

1922 to 2022


At almost 100 years young, Masako “Mar” or “Marcie” Hamada peacefully passed in her sleep on January 10, 2022 of natural causes at Hospice House South, Spokane, Washington. 


Masako was born in Seattle, Washington on February 21,1922 to Kumazo (1881-1932) of Japan and Toshi (Kato) Takahashi (1889-1980) of Niigata, Japan, as the 6th of 7 children. 


Her family had a farm in Kingston, Washington and her father also worked as a Manager for K. (Kamatero) Hirade Comany in Seattle.  Her father died in an accident in December 1932 leaving her older siblings, Hatsuo, Tsugio, Mineko and Yoshio to help support Mama Toshi and the three younger siblings Koichi, Masako and Yukiko who were still in school.


Masako graduated high school from Garfield High in Seattle, Washington.  After war was declared on Japan, a three-week period was given to Japanese Americans living on the West Coast to voluntarily leave their homes in the military exclusion zones and resettle to an inland State outside the military zones or be sent to a relocation camp.  Masako relocated with her family to Caldwell, Idaho where they lived with her brother, Hatsuo’s wife Mae’s family (the Tamura family). Later, she and her younger sister, Yuki, went to Chicago, Illinois to attend Art School when it was declared okay to travel to Chicago. Just one brother, Tsugio was sent to a relocation camp. 


While living in Southern Idaho, Masako met Harry H. Hamada (1919-1988).  Harry served in the highly decorated “Go For Broke” Japanese American, 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team.  They were married on January 7, 1947.


They lived and worked on their large farm in Greenleaf, Idaho for many years while raising two daughters Bonnie and Alice. Masako worked alongside their farmhands in the fields of potatoes, sugar beets, corn, and green onions.  She was a wonderful cook and not only made delicious meals for her sometimes picky, finicky family, but also made food for their many farmworkers, friends and family.,.


Masako had a beautiful voice and sang at many Boise JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) functions and other events. She had dreams of being a costume designer and loved to create and sew the girls holiday dresses and costumes.  She decorated for all the holidays and made sure Santa Claus always came to the Hamada Home.  She was hardworking, persevering, kind and considerate.  She was great at making us laugh.  She always made sure what needed to be done was done no matter what time it was.


In 1962, they sold their farm and moved to Mountain Home, Idaho where they built and operated a family-owned convenience store and garden center called Little Harry’s Beverage. They sold everything from beverages and convenience items to Japanese foods, gift items, hunting and fishing supplies, summer plants, and Christmas trees in the Garden Center.  Masako was concerned over the school kids eating candy and popcorn and drinking sodas for their lunch, so they built an addition to the Store. The “kids” could now have hamburgers, sandwiches and snacks while getting to play the pinball machines during their lunch hour or after school.  After many years of being open 364 days a year from early morning to late at night, they sold the store and Harry returned to farming.  Masako worked at the Elmore County Memorial Hospital.  She became known as “Marcie” while working at the hospital.  She retired as a CNA 25 years later.  During that time, Harry passed away in November 1988.


Like Harry, Marcie continued to actively donate her time and energy to the Mountain Home community volunteering at the Hospital Auxiliary, Senior Citizens Center, First Congregational Church, Historical Society, Visitor’s Center, Elkettes and American Legion Auxiliary.


Marcie had many talents.  She loved taking pictures wherever she went.  She made picture cards or albums so everyone would always get their pictures in prints.  She loved baking cakes and learned cake decorating and would be asked to decorate cakes for others.  She enjoyed quilting and was always stitching and learning something new.  She made her own silk flowers and made most of her daughter, Alice’s wedding flowers.  She would make corsages for various occasions to give to her friends and relatives.  She lovingly cared for all the pets they had and stayed active by traveling.  She loved swimming and water aerobics and exercising and line dancing classes.  We would all call her the Energizer Bunny since she was always on the go.


Before Marcie moved to Spokane, Washington in May of 2005, to be closer to her daughter, Bonnie. Marcie was honored and presented with the Key to the City by the Mayor of Mountain Home at a dinner in the presence of over 200 people for her many hours of volunteerism and contribution to the community


At 83 years young and in her new community of Spokane, Washington, she continued to volunteer wherever she could.  She loved living in her new gated community and helped deliver their monthly newsletter.  She attended Tai Chi and Line Dancing classes. She enjoyed going to their monthly dinners and lunches. She continued taking pictures and making picture cards/albums. She enjoyed attending church at Highland Park United Methodist Church, volunteering at their various fund-raising dinners, Bloomsday and continued her membership with the JACL.


Marcie walked every day, whether it was a mile or a block.  She continued to enjoy life well into her late 90s and continued her love for travel.  She probably made over a thousand Origami Tsuru (cranes).  She liked to play board games and cards especially when she went to stay with her daughter, Alice and husband, Vance in Salt Lake City, Utah. She enjoyed her crafting group, and she loved her best friends and sisters of choice, Ada Honda and Nobi Oka.  She loved watching her favorite Netflix show, Heartland and we would never turn her down when she wanted to watch one more episode.  She even tried alpine snow skiing one Christmas in her late 70s but every winter after that, she would say “I’m not skiing!”


Her philosophy was to stay active, keep moving and learning. She remained very creative, active, and always helped others even into her late 90’s. She was loved by everyone she knew and met.  Everyone always commented on how cute she was and what beautiful handwriting she had. She was one of a kind, truly “loverly” and will be deeply missed.


Masako “Marcie” Hamada is preceded in death by her parents, Kumazo and Toshi (Kato) Takahashi, husband, Harry H. Hamada, her 6 siblings, Hatsuo (Mae Tamura), Tsugio (Kimi Tsubota), Mineko Mukai (George), Yoshio (Ayako “Joyce” Sakauye), Koichi Takahashi, Yukiko “Judy” Katagiri (Dave).  She is survived by her children, Bonnie (David DeGraff) and Alice (Vance Edman), Sister-in-Laws, Ame Kobayashi and Joan Hamada, many nieces and nephews, her beloved DeGraff Family (Adam & Genevieve, Sofia, and Lucia), (Matthew & Monica, Maya, Maryn and Marley), (Jeremy, Dante, Kai, Jamaica and Irie), her beloved Kayano Family (Lynda Peterson, Tami & Will Richardson, Naliesha, Leila and Cash), and her most beloved sister of choice, Ada Honda.


Graveside services will be held at the Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home, Idaho, where she will be laid to rest next to her husband, Harry H. Hamada, on Friday, August 26, 2022, at 11:00 a.m.  Reverend Truman Parker will officiate.  A Celebration of Life and light lunch will follow from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the American Legion Post 26, 515 East 2nd South Mtn. Home, Idaho


The family is very grateful to Hospice of Spokane’s valued care over the past year and the Hospice House South for providing her last few months of life with their kind and comforting care.  We are also very grateful to Pacific Northwest Cremation (Spokane, WA) and Rost Funeral Home (Mtn. Home, ID)

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Hospice of Spokane or the Highland Park United Methodist Church (Spokane, WA)

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Masako
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Rost Funeral Home and Crematory
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