We Remember

SUGIE, Isamu “Sam”

December 1, 1928 — June 17, 2024

Our family, with heavy hearts, shares the peaceful passing of Isamu “Sam” Sugie on June 17, 2024, in Kelowna, BC at the age of 95.

As you can imagine, Dad saw and experienced a lot in his years.

Born in Vancouver, BC on December 1, 1928, he grew up in a large family (9 kids) that faced its share of hardship, particularly during WWII when the family was interned, and their property seized.  Dad’s family was initially sent to Rosebery, BC.  They stayed there long enough that he was able to complete Grade 8.

Dad applied for a summer job in Coldstream, thinning apples.  When that job finished, he moved to Westbank to help his eldest sister, her husband and his brother with their large vegetable farm.

After being moved around to many camps after Rosebery, his family was sent to Montreal, QB. In 1946, dad joined his family in Montreal, where he learned the cabinet-making trade.  He remained interested in woodworking ever since.  Many family and friends own his master-crafted pieces, whether it be a bedroom suite or jewellery box.

Dad reconnected with his childhood sweetheart, Irene, in Montreal after they first met in Vancouver when they were in Grade One and attended primary classes together.  They married in 1954 and returned to Vancouver shortly after.

In 1962, with dad’s mastery of woodwork and meticulous attention to detail, he was hired by Vanguard as its RV cabinetmaker, eventually leading to his position as design/draftsman manager.  Vanguard moved its operations from Richmond to Winfield, BC in 1970, so our family moved to Rutland, on the property we still have.

Dad retired from Vanguard in 1987 and took up golf.  He was a member at Kelowna Springs almost since its inception.  He played until he was 86, still walking and pushing his cart!  He even had a hole-in-one and was very proud because that day he was golfing with friends retired Bishop Fujikawa, Alan Yamaoka, and Isao Terai.

Both he and mom enjoyed their fishing trips to Sugar Lake, staying in the camper that…yup… dad designed! They would catch enough kokanee to more than fill their smoker, and afterwards, would share it all with family and friends.  Walking was something they both did together every day.  They would meet friends for coffee at McDonalds or “Timmys” and catch up on the daily news. They also took many bus trips with their friends to Reno.

If dad wasn’t on the golf course, you would find him somewhere in his garden! He was proud of all the compliments he received and how there wasn’t a weed to be had!  Anyone who came to visit would always leave with handfuls of his bountiful crop.  He grew kale for me, not knowing what it even was!

Dad was never still for long.  Always active.  In his younger years, he enjoyed 5-pin bowling with mom.  He learned how to play the clarinet and saxophone, and played in the army band in Vancouver in the early 50s.

Dad and mom were strong members of the Buddhist Temple in Kelowna.  Together with other members, they would ensure the altar was pristine.  They would volunteer to fulfill all of the ongoing maintenance upkeep.  Dad would donate some of his vegetables each year to the Farmers Market.

Dad was a quiet, gentle, generous man.  He was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather, always concerned that we were all okay and looked after.  He lived a long healthy life until he suffered a stroke in 2020.  But even after this, dad still worried about his family and wanted to ensure we were all healthy and safe.

Sam leaves behind his wife of 69 years, Irene; his daughter, Patricia (Dennis) Frederiksen; and his two grandsons, Austin (Ashley) and Cole.  He also leaves his three sisters, Isoko, Naoko, and Tazuko; numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews; and many friends.  He was predeceased by his brothers Masami (1972), Masayoshi (1999), and Kunio (2013), and his sisters Fumiko (2013) and Mieko (2017).

We know you are looking down on us with your infectious smile, as you tend to your garden.  We will love you forever.

A huge thank-you to Three Links Manor, where dad lived for almost three years.  All of you who took such wonderful care of him, we love you.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.

For those wishing to make a donation or in lieu of koden, please consider the Kelowna Buddhist Temple, www.kbtemple.ca/donate/, or a charity close to your heart.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area call “Condolences”.

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The Kelowna Buddhist Temple Link: www.kbtemple.ca/donate/




  • Addie Shunock says:

    Irene, Pat & family so sorry to hear of Sam’s passing. I only recently got to know him, but your description of him as a quiet special man is so perfect. I know he is looking down upon on all of you so proud to have been your husband, father, brother, and grandfather. Treasure all the great memories.


  • Ron Sugie says:

    Our deepest condolences to Aunt Irene, cousin Pat, her husband Dennis and their sons Austin and Cole on the passing of Uncle Sam. I’ll always remember the kind and generous hospitality afforded to us on our family trips to the Okanagan. Rest in peace Uncle Sam.
    Ron and Kathi Sugie

  • Kelli & Len Oystryk says:

    I will remember Sam by his warm smile that would light up a room, and his kind and quiet demeanor. Sending love to the family.

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