Review Bainbridge Island
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FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014 | Vol. 114, No. 12 | www.BAINBRIDGEREVIEW.com | 75¢
A special place to play
FRANK KITAMOTO 1939-2014
One boy’s life is inspiration for new playground BY CECILIA GARZA Bainbridge Island Review
Remember how it felt to sink both hands, palms down, fingers spread, into fresh wet sand on the beach? Or the exhilaration of rolling down a steep, grassy hill? Remember how it felt to be so close to the sky, you’re sure that you can reach the clouds in just one swing at a time? It’s easy. Close your eyes. Like a pendulum, first you’re being pulled backward and away from the ground, then suddenly you’re shooting forward and the ground is thrown back at you before it slides quickly out of your vision to make way for the sky: pale blue and puffy clouds, so close you can’t help but reach your hand out. Meanwhile that feeling in the pit of your stomach pulls forth all the squeals and giggles we miss in adulthood. This is play, in its most raw form. It’s a rite of passage. It’s the “work” of childhood. And yet, not all children have access to their neighborhood swing set. Not all children can play like this outside their own backyard. For one Bainbridge Island family this was the case. By the time he was 1 year old, Owen Marshall was diagnosed with quad-spastic cerebral palsy, cortical visual impairment and epilepsy. He had little voluntary control over his extremities and due to abnormalities in his brain, had reduced vision. “We spent a lot of time at Seattle Children’s Hospital the first year of his life,” said Stacy Marshall, his
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Frank Kitamoto, then president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, gives U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell a tour of the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial wall in 2010.
Photos courtesy of Stacy Marshall
Owen Marshall passed away at the age of six due to complications of cerebral palsy. His life will be memorialized with a playground accessible to all children, with or without disabilities.
Kelsey Marshall with his son Owen. mother. “He had a very difficult time keeping food down because of all those disabilities, so he had a feeding tube placed when he was about 4 months,” she recalled.
For several months in that first year, tiny Owen was also given injections to try to control more than 120 seizures a day. As he got older, play time for Owen didn’t mean playing in the mud or rolling down a hill at a neighborhood playground. Instead he spent time in his family’s garden underneath a big rainbow umbrella. He liked the bright colors because they were what he could see best, Marshall explained. He listened to music and his little brother, Elliot, rolled him in his wheelchair around the house to dance. He had a net swing at home, too. Like most kids, Owen loved it. turn to owen | A8
Leader of Bainbridge’s Japanese American community passes away BY BRIAN KELLY AND CECILIA GARZA Bainbridge Island Review
Frank Kitamoto, an iconic figure in Bainbridge Island’s Japanese American community, died Saturday, March 15. He was 74. Kitamoto was a longtime dentist on Bainbridge Island but was better known for his work to preserve and share the history of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. “He was kind of a giant to me,” said Clarence Moriwaki, who worked closely with Kitamoto as
part of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community. “He had been an outspoken champion of human rights. He was my mentor and friend.” Kitamoto and his family were among the 227 Bainbridge Japanese Americans to be taken from Bainbridge Island on March 30, 1942 and sent to internment camps. The families from Bainbridge were the first of nearly 12,000 Japanese Washington residents to be taken to concentration turn to LEADER | A9
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