Longtime resident of Vashon Island, Ann Matsumoto, passed peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday December 29. She had recently celebrated her 92nd birthday in Burien, Washington where she resided in her later years.
Born November 2, 1927 on Bainbridge Island in the town of Winslow, she was the eighth of 9 children to Enichi and Moto Tominagi Yamashita. Other than the Japanese internment years, she enjoyed a challenging but fulfilling youth and early adulthood on Bainbridge. On October 28, 1950 at the Seattle Buddhist Temple, she married James “Jimmy Mats” Matsumoto of Vashon and the island became their home for the next 60 years.
During their marriage, Ann and Jim farmed their own strawberry fields and helped the numerous Japanese berry farmers who became their primary social circle. Jim later began Vashon Construction and Ann became the unofficial bookkeeper and head bill collector for many of Jim’s “handshake deals”. Her career outside the home began at Island Industries and later she would commute daily to work in different print shops in the SODO district of Seattle. She found her true calling when she began working as a teacher’s aide at a Montessori school in West Seattle. She cherished and loved taking care of the children, often speaking of them in her later years.
Ann was dedicated to supporting her family and friends. She and Jim raised 4 children and throughout her life, she always welcomed visits from her children, her grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and the many island friendships that blossomed over the years. Upon entering her home, you instantly smelled the delicious meals, fresh baked breads, or sweet desserts that were made especially for you! Your hands were never empty upon leaving as she offered fresh vegetables or fruits grown in her garden, canned jam or jellies, and always packed up some of the day’s goodies for your ferry ride home.
Ann was preceded in death by her husband Jim (2012) of sixty-two years. She is survived by her younger sister, Sally Okazaki of Seattle, WA, children; Alan (Cindy) of Yakima WA, Eileen Kempton of University Place WA, Gary (Sabina) of Seattle WA, Diane Felix (Ed) of Seattle WA, and 7 grandchildren; Sarah (Evan), Courtney (Elliott), Andrew, Brianna (Peter), Cameron, Maya, Alina, and many nieces and nephews.
At Ann’s request, a private family graveside memorial service will be held at the Vashon Cemetery in early spring.
If you would like to share a memory or a few words, please visit the Island Funeral Service website.
We will always carry your memory in our hearts. We loved the hand-written cards and phone calls speaking of your daily activities; summer strawberry picking from a wee age; every holiday packed with yummy food and lots of laughs; the excitement you had for the island festivals; the trips for geoduck and matsutake mushroom hunting; and the adventures down to “the farm” to feed the pigs, check out the turkeys, gather vegetables and watch dad tending the seasons crops. You had the biggest smiles, welcoming hugs, and abundant love for each of your grandchildren. Always setting the example that living simply, working hard, and loving your family and friends was everything. Vashon was the place you called home and we will cherish these moments forever. Our Bank Road home was a special place because of YOU
To plant a tree in memory of Ann Matsumoto, please visit our tribute store.