Amy Aiko Suyama

obit-suyamaSEBASTOPOL, CALIF./ELLSWORTH – Amy Aiko Suyama – April 26, 1961 to Sept. 10, 2016

Amy Suyama of Sebastopol, Calif., and formerly of Ellsworth, died on a beautiful Sonoma County fall day, Sept. 10, 2016, doing what she loved, riding her bike in a benefit ride though wine country with the Tour De Fuzz to help raise money for the local police chaplaincy. Amy was the same energetic, happy, friendly person you remember through the years and a motivating force for family and friends. Growing up in Maine, she graduated from Ellsworth High School where, as a senior, she won female athlete of the year. She went on to attend Bowdoin College, where she also played on the basketball and soccer teams. Perhaps you remember how fiercely competitive she was.

Over 30 years ago, she moved to California and started working in the organic produce business and for the rest of her life continued an unending passion for her work in the Northern California area, marveling at the beauty of the land, the changing seasons and the fantastic fruits and vegetables grown by the local farmers, most of whom knew and worked with Amy personally. Amy loved so many people and so many things; she generated cheer throughout the community of Sebastopol — at the grocery, the gym, the produce market, the bank, the hardware store, the bike store, wherever she went. Her quick sense of humor and her ridiculously bright smile, her warmth and care… she’d get your life story out of you whether you wanted to tell it or not.

She adored her five rescued dogs, as well as the wild birds outside her window; “they’re eating me out of house and home.” She loved to cook for her friends. Her home was gorgeous and full of neatly arranged things that she loved. She was a fan of the Golden State Warriors. She was fiercely loyal and true; she’d pinch a penny to save two bucks and then give you a hundred.

Losing Amy created a void in our hearts and lives and is an immense loss to everyone who knew her. Amy was one of a kind. She was not a saint, in fact was very strong willed, but her beauty was in her heart. Those who were lucky enough to spend time with her, even if for a minute, were forever touched. She had the gift of making you feel you were the most important person in the world in that moment.

After her father, Dr. Eji Suyama, retired, she cared for him until his death in 2009. She leaves a vast and eclectic group of loved ones behind — her close friends, her siblings Carol, Sara, Jon, Peter, and Paul, and her dear mom, Virginia. We were all blessed by her being here and being part of our lives. “Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is neither a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith… Grief is the price of love.”

There will be a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bangor. There will be an opportunity during the service to reflect on Amy’s life so please feel free to share your thoughts and stories. Donations can be made on-line in her name to the Ellsworth High School Alumni Association Endowment Fund or to the Sonoma County Humane Society on Highway 12, in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Know when to pay your respects.