Shizuko Kamitomo Tribute Fund
1926 - 2012
Mom passed away peacefully at St. Michael's Health Centre Palliative Care Unit on March 8, 2012. She is survived by her children Gordon (Pat), Dennis (Leslie), Glenn (Georgina), and Carey, a brother Tom as well as sisters Sumi, Mitzi, Roko, Terrie, Yuri, and Mari. She was predeceased by her husband Nobuo, brother Roy and sister Colleen. A private family service was held on March 10, 2012 in memory of Shizuko's life.
Mom was born in Ruskin, B.C. on November 16, 1926 and worked on the family farm until the war broke out. She used to walk half an hour to school, backpacking a lunch. She played baseball and basketball in school. Mom went to school until Grade 8 when the war broke out and during the war, while in internment camps, the older kids schooled the younger kids.
Mom worked in a box factory in Ruskin and also made stitched baskets. On the family farm, Grandpa used to assemble wooden box kits for rhubarb when it rained and in his spare time. Mom picked strawberries, raspberries, cut asparagus, cut rhubarb and also weeded. Cabbage, dichon, Chinese cabbage was also grown on the farm and was sold mostly to Chinese people who would come and pick up produce for sale in the market. Grandpa used to give away extra veggies to neighbours and never wasted anything. Some ladies used to walk for miles with canvas bags to pick up produce while some of the husbands would ride bicycles to pick up veggies. They also raised chickens and traded eggs for feed, and when the chickens finished laying, they sold them and bought chicks.
The family had to evacuate and relocated to Hasting Park for a week or so in 1942 when the war broke out. Mom was 15 years old at the time. They then moved to Sandon, B. C. for 2 years and while there, they went to Coldstream Ranch in Vernon to thin and pick apples for 35 cents/hour from June to the end of October. They moved to Lemon Creek in 1944 for a couple of years but still went to Coldstream Ranch to thin and pick apples until they moved to Iron Springs, Alberta where they stayed for a couple of years. Mom’s dad purchased a used bicycle for Roy to get groceries and necessities form the Iron Spring Store. He was approximately 15 years old at the time. The family then moved to Turin, Alberta thinning sugar beets for almost 2 years. Mom got married in the Raymond Buddhist Church and moved to Raymond in 1949. Mom’s parents and family stayed in Turin until moving to Kipp, before moving back to B. C. settling in Bradner to grow daffodil bulbs on the same land that Tom and Colin still live on today. Mom, dad, and family moved to Lethbridge in 1964 where mom worked for Edith Cavell Nursing Home from September 1964 to 1985, 21 years. She remembers after deductions, her income was approximately $75 for 2 weeks and Christmas bonus was $10 for the first year.
Mom learned to knit and sew from Sumi while in Sandon and in those days the older kids who learned to knit and sew before the war taught the younger kids. Mom continued to knit, honing her skills until shortly after her 85th birthday. She was extremely generous in handing out toques, sweaters, scarves, slippers, afghans, and dish cloths which were her favourites in later years and her gifts were cherished by all. A highlight for her was teaching knitting to Japanese students and soon after the “Knitting Club” was born where instruction was followed by tea, snacks and great conversation forming friendships that will last a lifetime.
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