May 23, 1925 - May 16, 2009
Marlene was born to Seiichi and Harue Fujita in Los Angeles on May 23, 1925. While she was an “only child”, she had close ties to and support from her many relatives. In March, 1942, due to the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans from the west coast exclusion zone, Marlene and her family moved to Gunnison, Utah, where she graduated from Gunnison High School. Immediately following the end of WWII in 1945, she and her family returned to Gardena, California where her family farmed strawberries and flowers.
In 1946, she entered and later graduated from Woodbury College in Los Angeles. She then went to USC to study music and trained in piano and voice. She had an exceptional, though brief career as a concert vocalist.
Marlene met George Inouye, and they married in 1956. They lived briefly in Los Angeles, and subsequently moved to Gardena for several years and then moved to Palos Verdes in 1965. She raised two sons, Paul and Roger and remained active in teaching piano and voice during this time. George passed away in 1985. She continued to remain active as a vocal coach and teacher to local performing arts students. She also maintained a membership with the Seichio No Ie church, where she was active in directing the choir for many years.
In 2009, her health declined and she relocated to Tacoma, WA to be closer to family; her son and daughter in law, Paul and Lora. She was able to live independently with her cherished cat, Koku. After suffering an acute medical event, she was lovingly supported by Paul and Lora. But despite their supportive care, she passed away peacefully on the evening of May 16 with her family at her side.