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Nami Segawa Rees

1929 ~ 2022 (age 93)

Obituary

Nami Segawa Rees, 93, passed away on July 3, 2022. Nami was born on February 24, 1929, in Akita, Japan.

“Ganbatte” is a common form of encouragement in Japanese. It means do your best, try hard, and good luck!  It is also a word Nami Segawa Rees repeated to herself often. Growing up in Japan during World War II and being a woman, Nami was forced to stop schooling in the 5th grade. From then on, she helped on her family’s farm, took care of the younger children in her family, and worked various jobs in the home service industry as a cook and mine worker. Once she was of marrying age, she was encouraged to be set up for an arranged marriage, but Nami was stubborn, she wanted real love, and real love came. She met Robert “Bob” Bruce Rees in Towadako, Japan, in 1953 while working as a cook. They bonded over how to say bread パン (pan) in Japanese, and the rest was history. On August 15, 1956, they were married at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. Together they had two beautiful children, Betty Jane and Ray Bruce.

In 1959 Bob was transferred to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The whole family would make the move to the Sonoran Desert. It was Nami’s strength and devotion to her family that allowed her family to thrive in the states. She was the backbone that kept her family together during the many times her husband was transferred while serving in the U.S. Air Force. In January of 1966, Nami became a U.S. citizen. 

To many, ganbatte is just a saying, but to Nami, it is a way of life. Wife, mother, Gramo, and friend – Nami passed away at 93 years old. In her final months and days, she lived in Tempe, Arizona, with her husband Bob being cared for by her two children. She spent her days spreading love and inspiring those around her to ganbatte.

Nami is survived by her husband, Robert, daughter Betty, son Ray and grandchildren Celina Tatsuko, Taylor Namiko, and Zaria Mariko. The celebration of life will be held on Thursday, July 21, 2022, at 10:00 am at Richardson Funeral Home, 2621 S. Rural Rd. Tempe, Arizona 85282. Lunch will follow at China Town Buffet, 1807 E. Baseline Rd. Tempe, AZ 85282. Burial services will be held on Friday, July 22, 2022, at 10:00 am at Green Acres Cemetery, 401 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale, Arizona 85257.

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