Fujiko Hamasaki Kodama
Fujiko Hamasaki Kodama
  • November 14, 1930 - July 14, 2017
  • Monterey, California

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My Mom was born Fujiko Hamasaki on 11/14/30 in Los Angeles, CA to her Father, Hiroichi Hamasaki, and Mother, Tsugino Hamasaki. She was interned in Gila, Arizona during World War II with her parents and younger sisters, Itsuko and Eiko and her younger brother Tomohiro. Her youngest sister, Estuko, was born while her family was interned in Gila.

After World War II, my Mom attended and graduated from Belmont High School in Los Angeles, played in a Japanese American Women's Basketball league, was active in the Los Angeles Buddhist Temple and later met my Dad, George Kodama, while he was attending technical school in Los Angeles.

They married in 1950, returned to my Dad's hometown of Monterey, CA and moved into the Kodama family home. My Mom worked at the Kodama family dry cleaning business and became an active life-long member with the Monterey Peninsula Buddhist Temple, while my Dad and Mom saved money to purchase a home. With their savings along with a loan from the VA and help from both my Dad's and Mom's parents, they purchased a home site and built, landscaped and furnished their Monterey dream home in 1960.

My Mom continued to work until I was born in 1962. After that time she focused on raising me and taking care of the house. She mastered baking crispy oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, flakey pie crusts and the light-as-a-cloud chocolate mocha roll cake that became her signature dessert. My Mom also volunteered at the dental offices in the Monterey Presidio and was home room mother for a number of years while I attended Monte Vista Elementary School. She always seemed to win, when my Dad, Mom and I played "Around-the-World" from the basketball key we drew on the driveway at our home and also learned to snow ski, when my Mom and I would go on ski vacations with her sister Eiko's and sister Itsuko's families each year.

In the 1970's, my Mom returned to work at the Kodama family dry cleaning business and later completed her 2 year degree in business administration at Monterey Peninsula College, which included auto shop as an elective. It was at this time her Father suddenly passed away.

After obtaining her degree in the late 1970's, my Mom went to work for Robert Talbot in their Monterey corporate office. During the 20-years my Mom worked for Robert Talbot, my Dad and Mom traveled throughout the United State and also made trips to Japan and Canada.

My Mom always wanted to travel internationally and after she retired from Robert Talbot in the late 1990's, my Dad and Mom traveled to France, Italy, England, Switzerland, China and Hong Kong as well as several trips to visit relatives in Japan.

My Mom exercised at the Sally Griffith Senior Center in Pacific Grove and volunteered her time by making meals for Meals On Wheels. She made frequent trips to Southern California to visit family which as time went on turned into trips to help care for her mother who passed away in 2004 and sister Eiko who passed away in 2009 as well as visits to see her sister Istuko who passed away in 2013.

In 2015, my Mom had a massive stroke that left her paralyzed on the entire left side of her body and required that she be fed through her stomach. Although she spent most of her days in bed, spoke only when something was very important to her, she never complained and was willing to participate in physical therapy which included riding a stationary recumbent bicycle a number of times each week. Friends and family visited her at the nursing home in Monterey where she was staying on a regular basis.

I was very fortunate to be able to spend a few hours almost every day with her after she had her stroke. We shared at least one or two laughs each day and a good cry on some days as well.

On July 9, 2017, my Mom had another stroke and passed away peacefully on July 14, 2017.
I have been very fortunate to have a Mom who walked me to kindergarten on the first day of school, ran behind me in the driveway the first time I was able to ride my 2-wheel bike by myself, taught me to drive and parallel park the family car in the parking lot of Del Monte Shopping Center (which I found out from her only a few months ago gave her quite a few gray hairs), was the passenger the first time I drove out of the shopping center lot to practice driving in street traffic, and made sure that I was the best dressed banker in the office during the time she worked for Robert Talbot. Many of my firsts with my Mom lead to new adventures that were exciting and sometimes a little scary.

After my Mom had her stroke in 2015, I would hold her hand, let her know where we were going and say that we were going on a new adventure when we went to different areas of the hospital or from the hospital to the nursing home: intensive care unit to hospital room, hospital room to Carmel Hills nursing home, emergency room to hospital room, hospital room to Westland House nursing home. During the last few years my Mom and I had a lot of new adventures.

A few weeks ago my Mom had another stroke. I knew that she was not going to survive. I held her hand and let her know that it was time for a new adventure. That it was time for her to be with her parents as well as her sisters Eiko and Itsuko who had already passed away and that I knew she would be waiting for me when it was my turn. I also let her know that I loved her, was