Grace Murata

Obituary of Grace Mieko Murata

Grace Murata, 101, Ontario died June 6, 2019 at a local assisted living facility. Funeral Services will be held Friday, June 14, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at the Ontario Community Church. Private family burial at Evergreen Cemetery. Services and arrangements by Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario.

“Amazing Grace…How sweet the sound.”

She was born into a simple immigrant family in the Salinas Valley of California. Grace was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, auntie, and friend. During her 101-year life span, she exceeded these traditional roles.  She is a testament to the events of world history, cultural influences and perceptions, industrial progress, and her quiet participation in the evolving role of women. Despite these challenges, she maintained her values. She loved her family, accepted change, believed in loyalty and honesty, and most importantly, was unwavering in her faith in her God. She was the picture of resiliency, leaving a memorable legacy…truly an ”Amazing Grace.”

Grace Mieko Matsumoto was born in Watsonville, California on February 13, 1918 to Jiroichi and Tami Matsumoto.  She was the long-awaited daughter in a family of three older brothers, Toby, Harry, and George. While working on the family farm she forged the childhood friendships that lasted through her adulthood.  Among those early friendships was her future husband, Tom Murata.  She was an active member of the Japanese Presbyterian Church and graduated from Watsonville Union High School.  As with most of the Japanese in the state, she was uprooted by the Executive Order to evacuate and the family was transported to the Poston Internment in Arizona.  After a brief stay, she moved with her family to work at the Amalgamated Sugar Company in Denver, Colorado. She then accepted Tom Murata’s marriage proposal and moved to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where their daughter, Edith, was born. After his military discharge, the family moved to Brogan, Oregon where Tom worked on a farm.  When an employment opportunity presented itself in Detroit, Michigan the family briefly relocated there, where their son, Warren was born.  They then moved back to Jamison, Oregon where Tom was again employed on a farm.  Eventually moving to the Oregon Slope, the couple partnered and began their own operation and established Murata and Son’s.  By then, another son, Russell, was born. Grace nurtured a beautiful garden, raised and sold strawberries, in addition to doing housekeeping to contribute to the family finances.  As with many of her female Nisei friends, she worked in the fields, cooked and baked for family and farm workers,  raised her children, and manufactured the time to be an active member of the Community Methodist Church, Ore Ida Judo Club, and her children’s school and community activities.  She was humble, never asking for recognition or accolades for her accomplishments and generosity. She accepted this as her role and responsibility.

Prior to Tom’s death on 1999, they enjoyed traveling and fishing with friends and family. Their home was always open, the center of many gatherings. They taught their children and grandchildren the finer points of fishing and enjoying nature.  Grace was also able to travel internationally and to the East Coast, always fascinated by the beauty of the country and scenery.  Many of her later years were spent attending her grandchildren’s sport activities and performances. She was an avid gardener, a wonderful cook, enjoyed learning through reading, and loved her animals.  Grace lived on the farm until she was 100 years old. Then, she reluctantly entered Brookdale Assisted Living, where she adapted and quickly made friends. She enjoyed spontaneous visits from family and friends...always gracious and walking them to the front door at the end of the visit.

Grace would say her life was “simple” however she was most adept and successful at navigating life’s complexities. Her influences were quietly taught through example and acceptance. She believed God was her guiding force and always believed he had a plan for her but sometimes questioned why he was taking so long.

Grace left peacefully on the morning of June 6, 2019, with the love of family and friends surrounding her.  Special thanks for Brookdale Assisted Living and Heart and Home Hospice for their loving care and support.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jiroichi and Tami Matsumoto; brothers Toby, George, and Harry, as well as her husband of 57 years, Tom.  Surviving are her children, Edith and Mike Fehling (Cory), Warren and Shirley Murata (Jerod, Thad, and Akimi), and Russell and Mary Ann Murata (Tommy).  Grace was also the loving Great Grandmother to 5 children. Funeral services, under the direction of Lienkaemper Funeral Chapel, will be held on June 14, 2019 at the Ontario Community Church at 1 pm.

Private family internment at Evergreen Cemetery to follow services.