Marie Nakayama, 94, passed away at home on December 8, 2020 with her children and longtime caregiver by her side.
She was born on May 8th, 1926 in Olathe, CO, the sixth of nine children of Suye and Kameo (Tom) Togami, Japanese immigrants. Her family were farmers in Colorado and New Mexico, and she was no stranger to hard work. Though short in stature, Marie held her own in her big family, once hurling a hot iron at one of her brothers who was giving her a hard time. She graduated in the top 10 (there were 7 in her class) at her high school in Grants, New Mexico. While she was there, she excelled at basketball, playing point guard. She was legendary for winning at games of HORSE in the family driveway.
She met her lifelong love, John Nakayama, when he drove his family’s onion truck onto her farm and they married in 1950, and raised 3 children in Albuquerque, where John worked at Sandia Labs as an engineer until he retired.
Marie had an adventurous spirit, loved the mountains and the natural world (as well as a good meal), and was a woman of great and sustaining faith. She was known for her kindness (as well as stubbornness) and wonderful smile. She enjoyed bird watching, camping, fishing, wild flower hikes, and spending time at the family trailer on the Pine River near Vallecito Lake, CO. Family vacations there will always be remembered fondly.
Well into her 90s Marie loved going to Tai Chi and chair yoga classes at the Senior Center. She took pride in her appearance and was a sportswear fashionista. Family meant the world to her.
Marie was preceded in death by her mother, Suye and father, Kameo; sisters, Susie and Rose; brothers, Henry, Arthur, Jim, Joe, and Donald; husband, John; and son, Gerald. She is survived by her brother, Paul (Illinois); her three adult children, Karen (Robert) of Bayfield, CO, Nancy (Michael/Spider) of Seattle, WA, Ken of Amarillo, TX his daughters and her beloved granddaughters, Cassie and Maddie.
The family will always remember and cherish your loving devotion, generosity, and spunk, and we wish you Godspeed in your next adventure.
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