With five sisters and five aunts, Machico Suyama came of age surrounded by strong women. Nicknamed Marty by one of her sisters because it rhymed with smarty, she had earned a bright future with scholarships to three colleges. While waiting to hear from a fourth – the University of California at Berkley – Marty’s life changed forever. During World War II, she and her family were forced from their 200-acre fruit farm near San Francisco to live in Japanese internment camps. Marty was sent to a camp in Arizona.
Despite difficult circumstances, including letting go of her dream to attend college, Marty persevered. After the war, at the urging of her brother, Marty moved to Milwaukee where she met her husband, Tom, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Together, they built a life that includes two sons, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Later this year, Marty and Tom will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary.
In her suite at Luther Manor, Marty is surrounded by pictures of her family, treasures reflecting her Japanese heritage and displays of patriotism honoring her husband’s service in WWII following his internment in a camp in Idaho. When asked what word best describes her, Marty laughed and spoke instead with pride about her husband, sons and grandchildren. Especially of her granddaughters who are college graduates and successful young professionals.
There in her home, amidst pictures and mementos of the people most important to her, Marty’s strength is apparent. Amplified by the joy she finds in the accomplishments of those she loves, Marty’s word emerges: family. How fortunate for Luther Manor to be a part.