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Obituary: Masago Shibuya Armstrong

Longtime Pomona College registrar, 102, was interned during WWII

Masago Shibuya Armstrong was born in Menlo Park, California and grew up there working on her family’s flower farm. Her father sent all five of his children to college, most to Stanford University.

Shortly after earning her master’s degree from Stanford, in 1941 she and her family were uprooted and thrust into one of the many wartime internment camps for U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry located throughout the western United States.

After living three months in horse stables at Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, Masago and her family were shipped to the wilderness of Heart Mountain, Wyoming. The experience was traumatic for the entire family; her mother died in the Wyoming camp. She received FBI clearance to take her young sister with her to Frances Shimer College (now Shimer College) in Illinois for part of the time her family was interned.

After the war she worked at Stanford where she met her husband, Hubert Armstrong, and together they moved to Claremont. She was the registrar at Pomona College from 1955 to 1985.  During that time 8,752 students graduated from Pomona College, and she was the only person who met every one of them. She cared deeply about the students and held them to high standards.

After retirement she enjoyed silver work, needlepoint, playing the organ, and gardening. She travelled extensively in the Far East and to Rome with a group from her church, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Claremont.

She died peacefully at 102 at Mt. San Antonio Gardens.

She is survived by her brother Mare Shibuya and his wife Lily in Cupertino, California; sister Manabu McDonald and her husband David in Canada; and brother Yoshimaro Shibuya’s wife Carol in Manhattan Beach, California.

Her nephew David Shibuya and his wife Susan of La Verne are honoring her request to not have a service.

Donations in her memory may be made to Pomona College at community.pomona.edu/give_today, designated for the Towa Yamaguchi Shibuya perpetual scholarship fund, which she set up in her mother’s name.

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