April 7, 1919 ~ May 14, 2020
Clark Sadamu Nakamura passed away on Thursday, May 14th at the age of 101. Clark was a compassionate, generous soul who's spirit and love of life will be sincerely missed.
Clark, the second of five children, was born in the little town of Hakalau on the eastern shore of the Big Island of Hawaii where his family labored in the local sugar cane plantation. Japan's entry into the raging World War forced Clark to terminate his higher education efforts at Sacramento City College and enter internment at Camp Tulelake, California. Clark, like many Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans), volunteered for active combat duty and joined the newly formed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd holds a place in our nation's history as one of its most decorated units for its selfless heroism and valor in breaking through German lines to rescue the Texas National Guard's 141st Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, also known as the Lost Battalion, in the Vosges mountains in eastern France. Surviving veterans like Clark were honored years later with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
Following discharge from active duty, Clark was accepted at the University of Washburn in Topeka, Kansas where he made many enduring friendships. Feeling the need to find a more diverse community, he transferred to the University of Denver where he completed both an undergraduate and master's degree in Economics.
Upon graduation Clark moved to Chicago, Illinois where he married Lily Kiyoka Kobayashi from Hawi, Hawaii and where his only daughter, Gail, was born. The harsh weather of the Windy City inspired a move to the lovely little town of Los Altos, California where Clark, Lily and Gail thrived. Daily trips on the Peninsula's CalTrain to his position with the Social Security Administration in San Francisco made the distance between his workplace and their home in what would become the Silicon Valley, doable.
Clark was an avid sports fan, so season tickets to Stanford football games and cheering on his beloved San Francisco Giants were essential parts of life, as was tending his large garden and many home improvement projects. He shared Lily's love of music which spanned all genres from the classics including Grand Opera, American Broadway show tunes, The Eagles, and of course, Hawaiian Slack Key guitar. In his later years, he never lost his drive to challenge himself and learn, including adapting to the digital age with his own laptop where he archived the tales of his inspiring life in his memoirs.
Clark is survived by his loving daughter Gail Nakamura, son-in-law Alan Cartledge, brother Richard Nakamura, and many cherished nieces and nephews. His warmth, compassion and devotion to community will be greatly missed. Clark's final resting place will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on the island of Oahu where he will join his beloved Lily, who preceded him in death.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Clark's memory to Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley, https://www.shfb.org, KQED, https://www.kqed.org or the Peninsula Open Space Trust, https://openspacetrust.org.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased