Isami Tsubota was born in Olympia, Wash., on Oct. 5, 1914, to Japanese immigrant parents, Rokuta and Uma Kodani Tsubota; he was the third of six siblings and the last survivor. He went to be with the Lord on Saturday, May 14, 2011.
"Sam" resided in Biggs, Ore., from 1956 until he moved to Flagstone Senior Living in The Dalles, Ore., in August 2010.
He is survived by his three children: Karen Timblin and her husband, Phillip, of Wasco Ore, Eugene Tsubota and his wife, Tina, of Maryhill, Wash., and Denice Wareham and her husband, Lawrence, of the UK.
Also surviving are: 10 grandchildren: Bryan Robertson and his wife, Betsy, Corey and Amber Timblin, Todd Frolik, Justin, Jordan, Tadashi and his wife, Sheree', Tyson Tsubota and Nico and Takeio Wareham; and five great-grandchildren.
Isami was sent to Japan to attend school. He and his siblings returned after a few years to Bingen, Wash., where the family farmed. He graduated from Columbia High School in White Salmon, Wash. Backup waters of the Bonneville Dam affected the farming in Bingen, resulting in the family venturing into Maryhill, to continue farming before World War II.
The Executive Order of the war sent the family to the Portland Assembly Center at the Portland Stock Yards. While waiting to be assigned to an internment camp, the government needed volunteers to thin sugar beets in Eastern Oregon and Idaho.Isami volunteered, traveling east to work in Ontario, Ore. He worked his way to Ann Arbor, Mich., where he learned to sex baby chicks.
While in Ann Arbor, Isami and Miye Masuda were introduced by two mutual friends.Trust in these friends was such that they were married after a three-day courtship.
Returning to Maryhill after the war, the two brothers, Satoshi and Isami, soon divided the family farm, forming Maryhill Orchards and Maryhill Gardens. Construction of The Dalles and John Day dams and their backwaters displaced Isami and his family from the farm.They moved to Biggs Junction, where he started several family businesses, pioneering what is now Biggs Junction.
Isami enjoyed taking his grandchildren to streams he fished in his younger years. Being raised in the shadows of Mount Adams, there were excursions to this area, where he continued to fish, pick huckleberries and hunt for the ever-elusive and highly prized pine mushroom. Occasional elk hunting trips were added to this outdoor repertoire. "Sam" was known, as well, by rockhounds throughout the country for his Biggs Picture Jasper. He was an active member of the Baptist Church at Rufus for many years, had been a member of the Rufus Grange, Sherman County Lions Club and Mid-Columbia JACL (Japanese-American Citizens League).
The family would like to say a very special thank you to the Flagstone Senior Living staff, Senior Services and his doctors and staff for all of their excellent care.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, May 21, at 1 p.m. in the Baptist Church in Rufus at 302 Wallace St. The family suggests that donations be made to the Sherman County Historical Society, Moro, OR 97039.
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