We are saddened by the passing of Joy T. Hashimoto (1927-2017), a YWCA leader and an inspiration.
Born in California to Dr. George Y. and Mary Takeyama, she and her younger brother George had happy childhoods in Los Angeles, and spent summers at her grandparents’ farm. During World War II, her entire family was sent to the Amache Japanese-American Internment Camp in Colorado.
At the internment camp, her father served as the camp physician and her mother not only taught school, but after being contacted by YWCA national staff, helped establish YWCAs in different internment camps. Joy’s mom served as the director of these YWCA Japanese American Girl Reserve groups, which had programming for young women’s empowerment, such as providing resources and helping to prepare girls for college, and for health and wellness, such as competitive sporting games in the relocation camps. Joy’s parents were dedicated, giving people, and their compassion and work helping others clearly influenced her – as she herself has explained, “My parents taught me how to work for change.”
Interviewer: So how long were you there in Colorado?
JH: From around the end of August 1942 to June of 1945, so that was three years.
Interviewer: Then your whole high school education was there.
— oral history project: No. 328, Joy Hashimoto: an interview by Everette L. Cooley, University of Utah, 1990, pp. 26-27
Joy was 14-years-old when her family arrived at the internment camp. They were there for three years, during which Joy graduated from the Amache high school. She took off for college, and embarked on a life of civic action and engagement. She spent her freshmen year at Carleton College in Minnesota, where she joined the campus YWCA, and then transferred to the University of North Dakota, where she participated in state and regional YWCA activities and served as president for two years on her campus YWCA.
Her commitment to YWCA lasted throughout her life, and she served in leadership positions with her local YWCA, the national YWCA and World Service Council, traveling to different parts of the world as part of YWCA’s global relations efforts. As a YWCA USA board member, she was fearless and unabashed about the mission and about providing women and girls with the resources to be empowered, telling one of her peers, “…after being on the National Board, I said ‘I’m not scared to go around supporting public policies or asking for money.”
She was devoted to community service, Joy also served through membership and leadership positions in the College Club, Women’s State Legislative Council, Salt Lake Council of Women, Utah Medical Auxiliary, United Way, University of Utah Women’s Club, and other clubs. She provided support to medical students and their spouses, and raised funds for college scholarships.
Resilient, optimistic, and hardworking, Joy was “a loving example of goodwill, kindness, and service.” Throughout her remarkable life, she was an inspiration to many, living with purpose and showing us all how to make the most of life. She will be missed.
Joy was preceded in death by her beloved husband, parents, sister Betty, and brother George, and she is survived by her three children, Joy Douglass, Dr. Edward G. Hashimoto (Roopa), and Ann Pos (Hal), along with four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Interviewer: This recent legislation which is supposed to pay a sum to each internee, how do you feel about that?
JH: Well, I think that it is a token gesture. I think that the greatest thing of that bill is the fact that no other group of people will be interned without due cause. That is more of my concern than monetary value.
— oral history project: No. 328, Joy Hashimoto: an interview by Everette L. Cooley, University of Utah, 1990, pp. 31