Monday, June 8, 2009
Claire Minami D.C. Teacher
Claire Minami, 94, who taught in the Washington public school system for 23 years before retiring from Kramer Middle School in the
mid-1970s, died May 24 at Suburban Hospital after a stroke. She was a Bethesda resident.
Mrs. Minami started her career at Alice Deal Middle School and soon went to Kramer. She taught social studies, geography and history.
She was born Hifuko Fujishige in Sacramento to parents who had emigrated from Japan. She later changed her first name to Claire. She
was raised in French Camp, Calif., and later lived in Berkeley, where her husband was a dentist.
During World War II, she and her family were interned with others of Japanese descent at the Gila River relocation camp in Arizona. She
and her family were released from the camp in 1943 and spent two years in Detroit before settling in the Washington area. Mrs. Minami
graduated from Wilson Teachers College in the District.
She was a former chapter president of the Japanese American Citizens League and a charter member of the Washington Toho Koto
Society, a group that promotes Japanese koto music. She was also a worthy matron in the Order of the Eastern Star.
Her hobbies included doll-making, flower arranging and crossword puzzles.
Her husband, Henry K. Minami, whom she married in 1936, died in 1964.
Survivors include three sons, Warren N. Minami of Potomac, Wayne H. Minami of Alexandria and W. Denn "Denny" Minami of Chevy Chase;
10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
-- Adam Bernstein