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Ida Mitsuko Kado Watanabe


Passed Away:
Service Date:

Ida Mitsuko Kado Watanabe

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Service Location:
St. Monica Catholic Church
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January 30, 1927 – June 17, 2021
Ida Watanabe was born in Santa Monica, the daughter of immigrants Ryozo F. Kado and Hama Nishimura from Japan. She was named after Ida M. Deighton, a Cleveland, Ohio schoolteacher who befriended her father and taught him English. She died at home in Santa Monica after suffering a small stroke.

Ida could have been discouraged when her family was forced to live behind barbed wire at Manzanar during WWII but her father had faith. After about a year, they went to live with the Maryknoll Sisters in Ossining, N.Y.

After the war, Ida could have been a Catholic nun or a teacher but when the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy opened to women with the Class of 1950, Ida was among a handful of women in a class of 200. She also was a founding mother of Sigma Phi Omega when white sororities didn't accept Asians. After graduation, Mom discovered that pharmacies didn't want to hire women so one of her professors found her a job with a retail pharmacy in Santa Barbara. It was the first time that she lived away from home and she loved it! There was a time when she worked 38 hours/week with no benefits so her husband, Eay setup her own retirement program. Besides retail pharmacy, Ida worked at White Memorial Hospital and earned her 15-year service pin from her last employer Midway Hospital

During the past year Ida celebrated her 94th birthday and enjoyed Zoom senior activities with OPICA and WISE & Healthy Aging. She was interested in art and architecture and loved to play the piano. She is survived by her sons, Louis (Georgia) and Kenneth (Christine); her two grandchildren Steven and Caroline; great -granddaughter Elise, along with many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Janet; her brother, Louis; and her husband, Eay.

A funeral mass was held at St. Monica Catholic Church on July 2, 2021.



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