January 2, 1930 – December 3, 2019
Martha Hirai, 89, from Mattawa, Washington passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 3 in Richland, Washington. She was the ninth of 11 children born to Kiyozuchi and Yayeko Fujikawa. She was born on Jan. 2, 1930 in Madera, California and spent her early childhood in the Wilmington, California area.
When she was 12, when World War II broke out, the family was assembled at Santa Anita Racetrack where they spent six months living in a horse stall while waiting to be interned at Jerome, Arkansas where they spent a year. Part of the family, Frank and Sam, were released to help harvest the beet crop in Montana and later drafted into the army. George stayed behind to help the family in camp. The family was then moved to Tule Lake, California for the duration of 2 1/2 long years. The family was then released and settled in Brigham City, Utah, where they raised vegetables for their roadside market. While in Brigham City, Martha finished her schooling at Box Elder High School. She also worked in a tomato cannery and as a housekeeper in Ogden, Utah. During that time, she met a dashing young man from Idaho by chance, and the rest is history. Charley and Martha were married on Nov. 4, 1950.
Shortly after becoming a mother herself, Martha was a mother to Charley’s younger siblings as their mother had passed away. Charley and Martha lived in Idaho Falls and together raised their five children until 1963 when the family moved to Raft River area southeast of the Burley to farm. In 1971 the family moved to the Jerome/Wendell area to continue farming. In 1975, the opportunity to venture out west presented itself and farming continued in Mattawa.
Martha was a dedicated mother and housewife who helped in the farming operation. She was a strong, hard-working person, and despite all of her health issues, she rarely complained. Martha enjoyed her flower and vegetable gardens, as well as her kids and grandkids activities for many years.
Charley and Martha had six children of whom five are surviving – Harvey (Carol), Steve, Maureen (Ted), Rio (Janiece) and Allen. Martha is also survived by a sister Rose Uyematsu of Anaheim Hills, California, 13 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild and many nieces and nephews.
Martha was preceded in death by her husband Charley of 68 years; her parents; her siblings Helen, Doris, June, George, Harry, Sam, Frank, Edith and Jeane; a son Edward and a granddaughter Holly.
Public viewing will be held at Einan’s at Sunset Funeral Home in Richland, Washington on Friday, Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. followed by a Celebration of Martha’s Life at 10 a.m. A reception for family and friends will immediately follow.
A special thank you to all the staff and caregivers at Brookdale-Meadow Springs in Richland and Chaplaincy Health Care for your compassion in the care of our mother.
Express your thoughts and memories on our online Guestbook at www.einansatsunset.com.