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Terry Teruko Matsushima

June 28, 1932 February 13, 2015
Terry Teruko Matsushima
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Obituary for Terry Teruko Matsushima

Terry Matsushima was born Teruko Sakamoto on June 28, 1932 to Gunji and Chiyo (Kannon) Sakamoto in Formosa. She was the second of seven children: Kiyoshi (Kashio), Teruko, Noriko, Minanori, Tamiko, Kiyomi, and Seiko. Growing up in Formosa, the family often struggled to find food, thus she learned which types of tree bark were good to eat, and which snakes were venomous. Eventually, the family settled in Kumamoto, where Teruko graduated from Miike High School, and then attended needlework school and cooking school. On March 17, 1961, Teruko married Harry Matsushima in Japan. Initially, they lived on the Matsushima family farm in Platteville, Colorado. Not knowing what to expect in America, she was relieved the farm didn’t run on horses, wagons, and oxen. Harry and Teruko eventually bought a farm in LaSalle, where, for the next twenty years, they raised their daughters, Harriet, Naomi, and Jody. After Harry died suddenly in 1994, she moved to Tamai Tower in Denver. Teruko had lived with dementia since 2001. She was able to live independently until 2011, when she moved to the Beehive assisted living facility in Ft. Lupton. As her health continued to decline in 2013, she moved to Elms Haven Care Center in Thornton. She passed peacefully in her sleep at North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton on February 13, 2015. In the last years of her life, Teruko’s greatest joys were her grandchildren: Ian (Harriet & Stacey), Rebeka and Emily (Naomi & Dat), and Kiyoshi and Siri (Jody & Justin). Her caregivers at both the Beehive and Elms Haven would often remark on how much happier and more responsive she was when she had seen her favorite visitors. She is preceded in death by sisters Kiyomi and Tamiko, father Gunji, mother Chiyo, husband Harry, and brother Minanori Sakamoto. She is survived by brother Kashio (Keiko), sisters Noriko (Tatsunori) and Seiko, daughters Harriet (Stacey), Naomi (Dat), and Jody (Justin), grandchildren Rebeka, Emily, Ian, Kiyoshi, and Siri, and many sisters- and brothers in law and nieces and nephews and their families.

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