Monday, March 13, 2006

Sen. Inouye's Wife Dies

The wife of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has died of cancer. She was 81. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced her death on the floor of the Senate this afternoon.

Margaret "Maggie" Shinobu Awamura married Daniel Inouye on June 12, 1948. The couple have one child, Daniel Ken Inouye, Jr. Here is an excerpt from the Senator's book, Journey to Washington:

Then one unforgettable autumn day I met Margaret Awamura. Marriage had never occurred to me before that moment, but afterward it never left my mind. I proposed on our second date. It was December 6, 1947. I know, because we have celebrated the occasion together ever since.

Of course-because we were nisei--it wasn't as simple as all that. As soon as I informed my parents, they began to arrange things in the Japanese way Tradition calls for a ceremonial event involving nakoudos--go-between--who represent the families of the prospective bride and groom and settle the terms of the marriage. By prearrangement the Inouye team (my parents, our nakoudos and I) arrived at the Awamuras' one evening bearing gifts of rice, sake and fish and took places on the floor. Our nakoudos faced their nakoudos across a low table. Behind them sat the respective families, the parents first and, farthest away from the action, Maggie and I, as though we were only incidental onlookers. Now and then I caught her eye and we smiled secretly Only the nakoudos spoke.

First, gifts were exchanged. Then one of our representatives began to extol the virtues of Daniel Ken Inouye, a fine upstanding man, a war hero, and so forth.

Next our side listened to a recitation of Maggie's qualities: she had earned a master's degree, she was an accomplished seamstress, and her family's reputation for honor was unimpeachable. (I would have liked to add that she was beautiful, too.)

The nakoudos consulted briefly with their clients and recommended that the marriage be approved. Then at last glasses were filled, and a toast was chunk. Maggie and I were engaged--officially!

KITV-TV has an obit:
HONOLULU -- Margaret Inouye, 81, the wife of senior U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, died in Washington on Monday.

Inouye had been admitted to a hospital in Washington because of blood clots and fluid in her right lung last week. She died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from complications due to colon cancer at about 11 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time, Sen. Inouye's office said.

In 2004, doctors removed a cancerous growth from "Maggie" Inouye's large intestine. She had been getting radiation and chemotherapy since then.

Sen. Inouye married Margaret Shinobu Awamura in 1948. Inouye has been in the U.S. Senate since 1962.

"It was a most special blessing to have had Maggie in my life for 58 years. She was my inspiration, and all that I have accomplished could not have been done without her at my side. We were a team. She always supported me, listened to my ideas, and many times offered invaluable suggestions that always proved she was capable of achieving as much on her own right, given her intelligence and education. Instead, she chose to join me on a special journey that took us to Washington, and gave us the privilege of serving the people of Hawaii," Sen. Inouye said.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of Mrs. Inouye's death. She was the First lady of the Hawaii Congressional Delegation. She was unfailingly kind and always gracious. Above all, she was Senator Inouye's rock foundation of support, encouragement and loyalty. He has our deepest sympathy," U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said.

Maggie Inouye is survived by her husband; son, Daniel K. Inouye Jr.; and five sisters.

Funeral arrangements are pending.