As of Monday, December 23, 2013
Sumako (Akiyama) Kobayashi recently celebrated her 99th birthday. She was born on Binns Hill in Hood River on Nov. 30, 1914.
Florence Akiyama, who owns Nobi’s gas station on Tucker Road with her husband, Nobi, writes:
“I had a party for Suma because her father and Nobi’s father were brothers. Her dad was five years older than Nobi’s dad and those two brothers were recruited by the railroad builders to bring the rail lines to the West Coast from the eastern part of the USA.
“When they got here, her dad was used immediately in the desolate lands to install railway lines, as he was age 17. They told Nobi’s dad he was too young, being only 12, so he stayed in Portland with relatives until he was deemed old enough to help build the tracks.
“In their spare time, the boys settled in Hood River mountains where they planted fruit tree seedlings brought in their packs from Japan, some of which are now nice orchards in Oak Grove area, Hood River Valley.
“At age 99, Suma still keeps busy by keeping her house very clean, raking leaves in the yard, food preparation, and arts and crafts. She is very creative with making origami and other handiwork; lucky frogs, decorative umbrellas from pretty canned food labels, etc.
“Suma has a good outlook on life, goodwill for others, and makes the best of all situations, as they come up.”