Kiyo was born on July 17, 1922, in Portland, Ore. Her parents, Suyekichi and Isa Kimura, emigrated from Japan at the turn of the century. Kiyo grew up in Carver, Ore., and graduated from Oregon City High School. Her family farmed in Carver, raising berries and vegetables. In May of 1942, Kiyo and her family — along with other Japanese Americans — were interned at the North Portland Livestock Pavilion. That fall the internees were transported to the Minidoka internment camp in Hunt, Idaho. During the War, Kiyo was paroled out of Minidoka and went to work on a farm in rural Idaho. After the war, she moved to Phoenix, Ariz., to work on her brother’s farm. Thereafter, she returned to Oregon and then married Shigenari (Shig) Nagae on Dec. 24, 1945. Shig and Kiyo farmed in Boring, Ore., for over 40 years. They retired in 1989 and moved to Gresham, where Kiyo resided until shortly before her death.
Kiyo had a real zest for life. Though her life on the farm entailed hard work and included many lean years, she found joy for herself and for those with whom she worked. She had a great sense of humor and loved to joke, fostering that spirit among her co-workers, even though she often became the object of their jokes. Competitive by nature, she would make up games to brighten the days, such as who could pick the most strawberries in a given time. Despite the physical demands, Kiyo loved to work. For many summers after retirement, she worked at the Fujii Farms fruit stands, and she continued to make new friends at her gym, enliven her work environment and gift her much-loved bundt cakes to family, friends and even her aerobics teacher!
When not working, Kiyo loved to bowl, playing in a league for many years. She also loved to play cards with friends, especially if there were pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters involved. All who knew her could attest to her passion for the Portland Trail Blazers. She had her favorite players, and could talk Blazer basketball with the best of them. Outdoor hobbies included matsutake mushroom hunting — she had secret places that she never revealed, clam digging in early mornings at Copalis Beach in Washington and flower gardening. Her travels included trips with friends to Spirit Mountain and Reno, a trip to Hawaii with family and three trips to Japan. In recent years, she enjoyed cruises to Mexico and Alaska.
She shared her talents and enthusiasm with a number of organizations, including the Gresham Troutdale JACL as a volunteer on several committees, and Tickle Creek Road Neighborhood Women’s Club, the Busy Bee Club, where she will be remembered for, among other things, her chow mein and egg foo young.
Kiyo is survived by four children, daughters Linda Ozawa, Ontario, Ore., and Peggy Nagae, Portland, Ore.; sons Jerry Nagae, Seattle, Wash., and James Nagae, Portland, Ore. She is also survived by eight grandchildren: Sarah Nagae, Marci Ozawa, Stuart Nagae, Aspasia Bartels, Kelsey Bigelow, Jared Nagae, Tyler Nagae and Jessica Nagae. Kiyo also leaves four great-grandchildren: Calliope Nagae, Sabrina Elkan, Violet West and Tallulah Nagae.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 25, 2015, at the Greater Gresham Baptist Church located at 3848 N.E. Division Street, Gresham, Ore., for Kiyoko (Kiyo) Nagae, who died March 14 of natural causes at the age of 92.