Sue Yamaguchi

August 5, 1921 - July 18, 2019

Sue Yamaguchi passed away on July 18, 2019 at Hearthstone Health Campus.  Sue was born in Hilo, Hawaii on August 5, 1921.  She attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, where she enjoyed singing in the glee club and modern dance classes.  In 1942 Japanese Americans were forced to either leave California or go to an internment camp.  Sue transferred to Oberlin College in Ohio where she met her future husband, Harry Yamaguchi.  She received her BA degree in 1943 in absentia from Pomona.   She went on to receive her Masters degree from Teachers College Columbia University. Sue returned to Hawaii in 1944 and taught physical education at Hilo High School for two years.  She directed and choreographed student musicals at the high school, and after a tsunami swept over the islands, she put on a modern dance program to raise money for rebuilding. Del Monte recruited Sue and 100 girls to work in Honolulu on a pineapple plantation one summer.  She oversaw the girls in a dormitory and loved the experience.  

Sue and Harry were married in the Yale Chapel on October 1, 1946 and continued to live in New Haven, CT while Harry finished his Ph.D. in Psychology.  In 1951 they moved to Bloomington, Indiana.  Sue was a teacher/director at Children’s Corner Cooperative Nursery School until her retirement.  She was an avid IU sports fan and enjoyed playing tennis and golf.  She was known as a gracious host, an excellent cook, and a hula teacher who still danced the hula well into her late 80’s.  Though she was legally blind in later years, she enjoyed learning new skills to help her live independently.  She never lost her sense of humor or her sweet nature.  

Survivors include son, Ray Yamaguchi and wife, Kathy of Cerritos, CA; daughter, Patti Powell of Bloomington; step- grandsons, David Sakiyama of Cerritos, CA and Trevor Powell of Gosport; and three sisters.  Sue was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harry Yamaguchi; son-in-law, Mark Powell; three sisters; and three brothers.

Cremation Rites have been accorded.  Arrangements are private.

Send Condolence

   Condolences to the family.  Sue and her late husband Harry will always be important parts of Oberlin's history.  Their courage and engagement with  College officials made it possible for other Nisei students to leave internment camps for study at Oberlin College.

   Clyde Owan

   What an amazing woman! I recall Sue from when I worked at Sterling House many years ago. My deepest sympathies to all her family.

   Kelli Shannon

   Sue was the director of Children's Corner when I was hired as a teacher. I had known Sue and Harry through my connections with the IU Psych Department.I treasure my memories of Sue from both connections. When interacting with the children she had a cheerful giggle that was a valued reward for them . I can hear it now.. Many of them called her "Mamaguchi".They would  swing and chant,"Mamaguchi! Mamaguchi" I'll bet those echos remain on that playground.

   Nina Ost

  So sorry to hear of your mother’s passing — losing a parent is hard. Knowing the Yamaguchi family is one of the things that added to the richness of growing up in Bloomington. Thanks for the chance to know one and all.

   Andy Qualls

   I'm sorry to learn that Sue has passed away. I am another former nursery school pupil of hers (there are a lot of us!). Everyone loved Sue! Condolences to Patti and the rest of the family.

   Jocelyn Bowie

   Dear Patti,  Your mother was an amazing and delightful woman.  She lived her life proudly and adjusted to change with grace and courage.  I was honored to have known her.  May she rest in peace.

   Janet Barrows

   Ms. Yamaguchi was my nursery school teacher in 1962-63. She was wonderful to me and to the other kids. I remember that she referred to some drawing of mine as my "masterpiece," and that made me really happy. I see she also was the director of Children's Corner, not just a teacher. I'm very grateful to her for a great year at an important time of life.  

   Hugh Baxter

   Mrs. Yamaguchi was my Sunday School teacher many years ago.  I remember her fondly.  Peace and love to her family.  

   Andi Haynes

   My late wife, Ada and I were privileged to be part of the IU Couples Golf Group as were Sue and Harry.  A delightful lady made competing with them fun, but not as much as the post-golf dining experiences.  May her soul find rest in eternity?  

   Harmon Baldwin

   Patti, I've very much enjoyed hearing you talk about your mother.  What a lovely woman!  I'm sure you'll continue to treasure your good memories.  

   Jeannie Kellam