Joanne Irene Noda Montgomery succumbed to cancer on Sept. 20 while living at a residential board and care home in Los Angeles, known as “My Mother’s Place.” She was surrounded by her loving family.
Her long battle against the disease since it was first diagnosed in 2007 made the difference in allowing her to know all of her grandchildren, three of the four of which were all born during the span of this most personal struggle. She endured radiation, chemotherapy and major surgery to achieve this inspiring accomplishment.
Joanne was born to William and Esther Noda on July 30, 1943 at the hospital for the Tule Lake Relocation Camp while experiencing the wrongful internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. She was one of thousands of natively born American citizens of Japanese ancestry who suffered this injustice and finally received a formal apology from the government of the United States along with the passing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
After the family’s release after the war in 1945 she was raised in Turlock where her parents owned and operated a small grocery store. Joanne attended the local elementary schools and was a 1961 graduate of Turlock High School. She also attended Modesto Junior College.
One of her greatest achievements was returning to and completing her education with a bachelor’s degree in Real Estate from California State University, Sacramento which allowed her to become a licensed real estate broker. For more than a decade she attended school at night on top of her full time career as a federal civil servant.
Joanne sang and played the piano as well as danced along with her sister Carol in the June Jane Ripley dance school during grammar and high school. She was a lover of art, theatre and music, and very much enjoyed a tradition of annual vacations with her family to Maui.
She was married to now retired Air Force Officer Major George M. Montgomery Jr. from 1964 to 1976. Together they lived in Alaska, California, Texas, Ohio and New Hampshire.
Later in life she had a long partnership with her great friend and final significant other George Hamano who passed away in May 2009.
Joanne spent over 30 years working for the federal government and retired in 2002. During her career she achieved countless commendations and recognition from her co-workers and superiors, while working for a wide range of federal agencies. She completed her time with the U.S. government as an underwriter for the Federal Bureau of Housing and Urban Development.
During her retirement years she passionately pursued a second career in market research for her family’s small television graphic design business.
She is survived by her mother, Esther Noda-Toyoda; sons, George M. Montgomery III and his wife, Linh, and Joe Daniels and his wife, Aubrey; sisters, Carol and Debbie Noda; step brother and sister, John R. Toyoda and Candace Marks; grandchildren, George and Lauren Montgomery, and Alexander and Nicholas Daniels; and nephew, William Patten.
Her father, Bill Noda, and grandmother, Mura Ishizuka Sekine, preceded her in death in 1983 and 1984, respectively.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock.