Michiko Kikuchi Sanders was the descendant of a mighty samurai clan. From her birth in Yamagata, Japan on November 3, 1931 to her death on Thanksgiving of this year, she was a warrior through and through. Her extensive list of family and friends will miss her so very much.
Michiko, often called Mitzi, was the eldest of six children. As a young girl she experienced the terrible impacts of war. She and her classmates were forced to tear down their school fences for steel factories. She led siblings to safety in the mountains when the bombs came. She watched the once wealthy family finances go under, and she saw hundreds of soldiers commit ritual suicide in front of the Emperor's palace when the surrender announcement came.
In 1951, she met a soldier named Duane Sanders and they were married a year later despite the US Army putting up multiple barriers. She gave up her Head of Family position in Japan to come to the United States in the spring of 1954 with their first child. Four more children followed as she traversed across the world, moving almost two dozen times.
At every location she lived, Mitzi left the yards more beautiful than when she arrived. She spent almost every day tending to her yards. She embraced being a founder and sometime gardener of the Peace Garden of the Oregon City Community Center. She was also the Founder of the Oregon City-Tatashina Sister City Program. As an unofficial interpreter for the group, she facilitated many conversations of understanding. Her "lunch bunch" of women involved in Sister City activities was a highlight of her later life.
Mitzi heartily laughed at Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Bill Cosby, and the Golden Girls. She loved the music of Elvis Presley and Yanni. She enjoyed live theatre, and eating out. Most recently she became an avid viewer of The Masked Singer.
She is now reunited with her youngest daughter, Lisa, who preceded her in death almost five years ago. Surviving children are Marie Werts, David Sanders, Sandra Apfeld, and Robert Sanders. She also leaves behind ten grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren. She watched with pride over this large brood as they progressed in their education and careers, and her home was filled with hundreds of photos and keepsakes. All loved her dearly. Goodbye Mom/Grandma/Obasan/Granny Mitzi.
Donations may be given in her honor to the Pioneer Community Center in Oregon City