Obituary for Ruth Yoshiko Noda
Ruth Yoshiko Noda, age 92, died peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Sunday, May 21, 2017. She was born in Fort Lupton, Colorado to Hirakichi Ota and Tatsu Funakoshi on February 28, 1925. Ruth graduated from Fort Lupton High School Class of 1943 and was class organizer for that graduating year. After raising her daughters, she worked at Wesco Fabrics, retiring after 14 years of service. She is previously from Thornton, Colorado, having moved to Grand Prairie, Texas in May of 2016. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Robert Noda, sisters Amy Urano and Daisy Kiyota, brother Ken Funakoshi. Left to cherish her memory is daughter Kay Williams and husband Bob; grandson Matthew Williams; grandson Nick Williams and wife Corie; granddaughter Robin Maiani; daughter Kerry Minter and husband Nick; granddaughter Andrea Kamal and husband Hanney; granddaughter Rachel Albright and fiancé Santos Castro; granddaughter Kristina Albright; Brother Fred Funakoshi and wife Mitsie; sister Mary Masunaga; brother Sam Funakoshi and wife Fran; sisters-in-law Kyoko Funakoshi, Eunice Sato and Mizzie Noda; 7 great grandchildren Olivia Maiani, Emerson Maiani, Delaney Williams, Madeline Williams, Asya King, Aleigha Jordan and Haley Bentley; along with a host of nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held June 30, 2017 at 3pm at Goode Centennial United Methodist Church, 6391 Olive Street, Commerce City, Colorado. Donations may be made to The Arthritis Foundation of Colorado at www.arthritis.org/Colorado/ or 2280 S. Albion Street, Denver, Co 80222.
Life Story for Ruth Yoshiko Noda
In Memory of
Ruth Yoshiko (Funakoshi) Noda
February 28, 1925 – May 21, 2017, 5:05 pm
Fort Lupton, Colorado – Grand Prairie, Texas
Momma’s reflections from 2006
Momma Ruth’s life began on her parents’ Fort Lupton farm where Ruth was one of seven siblings. Grandpa and Grandma moved to Fort Lupton from Japan in 1915. Momma learned to appreciate the look and smell of freshly plowed fields, garden vegetables, milk and butter from the family’s cows, fresh chicken, ham, or beef, and an array of Japanese cooking. Momma reflects:
Chores --- -hum! I think we all knew what we had to do or what there was to do. Saturdays were housecleaning day --- we had to fill the kerosene lamps (before electricity), polish the glass chimneys and get down on our knees and scrape the “smushed” rice (gohan) off the dining room floor, mop the floors, etc. We girls did the dishes, and I’m sure the boys had outdoor chores. We did a lot of ironing. Grandma washed and starched the hems of sheets and pillow cases and some dresses and shirts. I remember sprinkling the dry clothes first and then ironing them. No steam irons then. Grandma and all the other Grandmas did a lot of laundry by hand for large families! What a backbreaking job!!! We all worked out in the fields together --- hoeing, cleaning ditches, irrigating, harvesting. We also milked the cows mornings and evening. When beet harvesting time came, we went out in the field and put the beets in rows for Grandma to top before we went to school. It was cold and the beet tops would be frozen. Farming certainly was a gamble, never knowing what the weather would bring ---- especially devastating hail storms and some bad wind storms. Somehow we made it through disasters. Grandpa provided well for a large family.
Ruth survived her husband, Bob, sisters Amy Urano and Daisy Kiyota, her brother Ken, her brothers-in-law Frank Urano, George Masunaga, and Johnny Kiyota. Grandma and Grandpa Funakoshi tragically were killed in a car crash in 1962.
Momma met Dad, Robert Noda, and married in Denver, Colorado on March 16, 1947. Momma and Dad spent their first years of marriage in Michigan before moving back to Colorado and settling down in a brick house that would be their home for over 50 years. Momma loved home cooked meals around the kitchen table. She writes about meals on the farm:
We always ate our meals together in the dining room. Breakfast was usually cereal --- oatmeal mostly --- toast, eggs and bacon.. Dinner was rice and okazu.. The okazu was made with some meat and lots of vegetables and of course, tsukemono --- a pickled vegetable like cucumber, uri, daikon that Grandma made. Dinner was usually served with tea. We ate out of the rice bowls and regular china dishes. No Melmac at that time. I am still using the rice bowls that Grandma gave me a long, long, time ago.
Momma did some magic in being able to host her extended family of twenty or more in our small house for holiday meals. We would organize ourselves at various tables and play cards through the evening. She wrote about her family playing games on the farm:
Yes, we did play games after supper and dishes were done. Grandpa and we would play softball until dark. Indoors, we all sat around the table and played “dominoes’ and “Chinese Checkers.” Sometimes when Grandpa and Grandma were gone on a Sunday, we would get out a deck of cards and play until we knew they would be home. Later we taught Grandpa how to play “Rummy.” Neighbors would come over and we would play “Kick the Can” or “Hide and Seek” till dark.
Momma’s extended family organized epic family reunions as we grew up. We thrived on playing with numerous cousins, learning to play cards with the aunts and uncles, and eating the best food west of the Mississippi. These family gatherings were joyous. We have accumulated many photos of Momma—she was always there for the parties—even on the last day of her life, when she was present to celebrate her daughter’s birthday.
Momma prided herself in making a perfect home for our family of four. She did housekeeping and yard work with precision, and grew tall, blue and purple irises in our backyard against a lilac hedge next to her clothesline. Momma made most of our Sunday dresses (usually identical dresses), and managed to keep our ordinarily straight hair very curly with boxed home perms. Momma spent hours sewing doll clothes and showing us how to make paper doll clothes. She let us make tents with the dining room furniture; we could drag all of our toys out and not worry about our messes.
It is easy to understand Momma’s homemaking:
Grandma loved her garden and flowers! She always had a variety of flowers and had a nice garden. The flowers were taken to the cemeteries on Memorial Day and other occasions. She did most of the irrigating ---- even the lawn! Grandma did a lot of canning when the vegetables started --- peas, beans, corn, tomatoes mostly. We used to go to Loveland or Longmont and pick cherries for canning, and Grandma made a lot of juices. In the winter we enjoyed all that she canned or preserved. (Yes, we girls helped prepare the vegetables, etc.) She used to bake dozens of lemon meringue pies and keep them in the basement. Yum! We had no electric mixer so all the egg whites were whipped by hand! Grandma and Grandpa always did the barbering of our hair. The girls always had the straight wedge cut with bangs. We were teenagers, I think, when we finally got our first perms and decided what to do about our own “coifs!”
My days in the spring, summer and fall are spent outdoors keeping the weeds down, the lawn green and trimming whatever I can now. This year, 2006, has been so hot, dry and windy. Watering has really kept me and of course others busy! I do have lawn service since the last time Bob got ill – about five years now. My favorite seasons are spring and fall! I did not get any flowers or vegetables in this spring, but I haven’t really missed them as there are so many other things to take care of. Fall is nice because it is cooler and raking leaves is rather nice and therapeutic, even though all the leaves that fall in my yard are from the neighbor’s trees.
Momma began working out of the home and fell in love with handling drapery fabric and making custom window coverings at Wesco Fabrics in Denver. This work required most working hours on her feet measuring and cutting fabric. Momma retired in 1983 after fourteen years with Wesco.
The biblical text, Titus, Chapters 1 through 3, reminds us of what it means for Momma to leave a legacy for her daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Momma taught us to love what is good; to be self-controlled, to be upright, holy, and disciplined. Momma taught us to live in faith, love, endurance, and with trust in God. We were taught to show integrity and humility, and to be fully trusted. Momma taught us to do what is good, practice saying no; to be peace-able and considerate. Everyone who met Momma loved her kindness, faith, and endurance. Momma was super strong—our mighty Mom.
Ruth died of complications from her severe arthritis, in her daughter’s home in Grand Prairie, Texas on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed.” Proverbs 31:25-28.