Bessie Masuda, 89, died peacefully at her home in Berkeley on Feb. 14. Born in Stockton, CA, on May 27, 1929, Bessie was the daughter of George Taro Masuda and Chiomi Sogioka Masuda. After a happy childhood in Lodi, she and her family were imprisoned in two concentration camps, Rohwer and Crystal City. After WWII she graduated with honors from Commerce High School, S.F. She sacrificed her college education to work and help her parents buy a home. For 35 years she managed the office of a wholesale diamond dealer in S.F.
She married Toru Saito, a mental health clinician, in 1996. She was a gifted jazz singer, an award-winning painter and a champion tennis player.
Bessie is survived by husband Toru, daughters Jill Lee of Piedmont and Kim Ikegaki of Alameda, granddaughter Megan Lee, sister Suzie Sasagawa of Palo Alto and brother Richard Masuda of Los Gatos.
A celebration of her life will be held on Sat., April 20th at the Berkeley Methodist United Church, 1710 Carleton St., Berkeley 94703. It will begin at 11:00 am and be followed by a reception.