A Tribute to Sharon Harris
Sharon Nobue Harris passed away December 30, 2022. She leaves behind her husband Dave, son Cory (Karen), daughter Shannon (Tal Goettling), granddaughter Hailey, sister Joyce Hamamura (Susan Davis), aunt May Terayama, many cousins, friends and her lap-warming kitty, Missy.
She was born on September 30, 1944 in Hunt, Idaho. Her parents Mac (Minoru) and Rits(uko) Hamamura and extended family were interned at the time in the Minidoka War Relocation Center. They were among some 9,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned in that facility from 1942-1945. After the camp closed, the family returned to Washington state. They lived in Moses Lake where Sharon turned one before settling in Auburn. Sharon, sister Joyce and brother Duane grew up on the family strawberry farm beside the Green River. As big sister, she regularly looked after her siblings. That role did not come easily at first. Mac and Rits would recall how Sharon, accustomed to being the only child for almost 5 years, offered to give her baby sister away to everyone who came by the house. Family trips were rare, so outings to Bainbridge Island or Mt. Rainier and vacations to Vancouver, B.C. and Hawaii were very memorable.
Sharon attended Auburn schools, participating in many activities such as cheerleading, Honor Society and Pep Club. Summers she worked hard on the farm, helping her parents by supervising workers and handling the U-Pick sales. She liked to play baseball with Joyce and Duane, was a Girl Scout, joined a weekly bowling league and played the piano. She enjoyed staying in touch, having lunch and playing Bunco with lifelong friends.
Sharon graduated from Auburn High in 1962. She moved to Seattle, staying with an aunt in a tiny apartment near the International District while attending business school. It was at this business school that she promptly caught the eye of her future husband. Sharon studied secretarial skills while Dave studied computers. After graduation, Dave moved to California to work for Santa Cruz Bank. Sharon followed him and worked for Santa Cruz Sylvania Aerospace Division. The couple wed in Reno, NV. They welcomed their son Cory on New Year’s Eve 1964. Upon returning to Auburn, Dave began his long career with Boeing, commuting to Renton daily. Sharon was a full-time mom when daughter Shannon joined the family December 29, 1969. Sharon managed the household and the kids’ busy school and activities schedules. She even did some softball coaching.
Later she and Dave were actively involved in their granddaughter’s life, providing guidance for Hailey as she grew up. Sharon and Dave lovingly watched after mother Ritsuko providing companionship and care throughout her 100 years.
Sharon and Dave ran a profitable award ribbon business for 5 years from home. Later she decided to take a job at the nearby casino. Because of the family connection to horse racing and her ability with numbers, Sharon worked in the off-track betting area for a couple of years. She enjoyed the challenge and meeting new people. Sharon was always skilled with her hands. She loved decorating and home improvements. She could hang wallpaper and paint the interiors and exteriors of her homes with ease. She was small but mighty. She could swing a mean ax as she often chopped logs for the wood stove. She could make anything bloom. Beautiful plants and flowers were in abundance in her garden and filled her home. She definitely inherited the green thumb from her farmer parents.
Sharon was extremely creative and crafty. She produced beautiful things which, when gifted to friends and family, became valued, enduring keepsakes. Among her talents were calligraphy and water color painting, origami, wood carving, stained glass work, needlepoint, knitting, sewing, and quilting. She loved to work on incredibly small, intricate things. An example of this was building and decorating dollhouses and room boxes. Sharon filled them with miniature handmade furnishings, household objects, and personalized treasures all in exquisite detail.
Her love of all things Asian was apparent in her amazing collections of furniture, Japanese dishes, vintage snuff bottles, and kokeshi dolls. Her favorite TV channel was the Japanese television network. She followed the Mariners and Seahawks, but her favorite sport was Sumo wrestling.
Dave encouraged Sharon in all of her interests, hobbies and business endeavors throughout their long life together. He provided selfless and loving care for her in their favorite place to be, at home.
Sharon could be described as reserved, practical, no-nonsense and even a bit bossy. Though appearing to be rather serious, she really loved a good laugh and a fun time. Camera shy, Sharon had a great smile which was rarely captured in family photos. She was smart, organized and hard-working. She did not hold back on sharing her opinion. However, it was always from a place of love and concern for others’ wellbeing. She had a warm and caring heart. She was supportive and giving to family and friends. We love Sharon and truly miss her.
There will be no services at Sharon’s request.
If you choose, donations may be made on her behalf to:
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association
221 Winslow Way West, Suite 206
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110