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Family and Friends of Mary Uchiyama

The Mary S Uchiyama Scholarship fund honors the life and legacy of Mary Suzanna Uchiyama.

Mary was born on November 30, 1925 in San Francisco, CA. In 1942, soon after the United States entered World War II, the United States government ordered all people of Japanese ancestry to leave California, Oregon, and Washington. Mary’s family was moved to the Topaz Relocation Center in central Utah, where they remained for the duration of the war. Mary graduated from high school and began teaching elementary school in the internment camp, where there was a severe shortage of teachers. After the war, she moved to Chicago to find a job, helping her family move back to San Francisco to re-start their lives.

Mary married her husband, Aiji Uchiyama, in Chicago. They moved their young family to Pasadena in 1952. When her children got older, Mary returned to the love of teaching first kindled in the internment camp. She taught
cooking and sewing at Pasadena City College for almost 50 years, inspiring her students and friends with her warmth, dedication, and example of healthy living.

Mary took classes at many colleges both immediately after the war and in the years that followed. She knew how hard it was to support yourself and take care of your family while trying to go to school. Over the years, she and her family helped many people to afford a college education. She dreamed of one day being able to help all immigrants who, like her, so badly wanted to go to college.