Peaceful 06
Official Obituary of

Susan H. (Hisako Usama) Klemann

March 21, 1930 ~ March 4, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Susan Klemann Obituary

Susan H. Klemann, affectionately known as “Susie,” entered this life in Kawasaki, Japan, on March 21, 1930. Her given name at birth was Hisako Usami, and she was the oldest sibling of two brothers and two sisters. Her sisters still live in Japan, as do several nieces and nephews. In recent years, Susie would complain of living too long and that she longed for heaven so she could see Jesus and her daughters. Her family handed her back to Jesus on March 4, 2024, when she passed away at home following a short battle with cancer.

Susie shared stories of growing up in Japan, helping her father in his grocery store, and her terror as a young teen running to a park in the center of town as businesses were being bombed in her city. After the war, she worked in a battery factory with other Japanese citizens who were picked up and driven to work each day by American soldiers. This is how and when she met her future husband. After a whirlwind courtship, they got married and lived in Japan for a few years.

With assurances of a happy life in America, Susie, pregnant with her third child, left behind everyone and everything she knew and loved and set off for the United States with her husband and two young daughters, settling in the Lisbon, Guilford Lake, and Salem areas. On arrival, and for several years thereafter, the “happy life” was defined as one of poverty and hardship. In quick succession, she found herself with two daughters and four sons. Tragedy struck when one daughter, Sandy, died at home in an accident involving the family car, a tragedy from which Susan and her husband never recovered.

Susie believed with a good marriage you could withstand almost anything, but even a good marriage eluded her. She found herself married to a smooth talker who could be charming and cruel, who found the vows of love, honor, and faithfulness binding only for her, and alcohol was often a contributing factor in family turmoil. She lamented that her husband had been so nice in Japan, but her family suspected that the watchful eye of Susie’s father and Uncle Sam played a role in that.

Life in America with an ever-growing family was not just financially hard. Susie recounted being looked at suspiciously and whispered about as she shopped, and she quickly learned cultural and language barriers weren’t the only issues to be overcome. Though she became a proud U.S. citizen, and her children were naturally U.S. citizens, they faced prejudices in the community, schools, and even churches.

Other soldiers had married Japanese girls and settled in the Youngstown-Canton areas, so there were moments of respite for Susie when the families would get together. The Youngstown and Canton women eventually formed Japanese women’s clubs and met for lunch to share stories of their lives in the U.S. They would swap recipes, support each other with flowers, cards, and meals upon the birth of a baby or death of a family member, and they shared news from family members in Japan.

Eventually, Susie divorced, and a happier, peaceful life followed. She got her driver’s license and got a job, neither of which she was permitted to do before. Her entire career was spent working for Warren Molded Plastics, in Salem. Wherever you went, the compliments about Susie were the same, i.e., what a nice, beautiful woman, and hard worker she was. Susie dated occasionally but never remarried. She enjoyed spending time with family and friends, gardening, traveling, dancing, and going to restaurants. She was a beautiful seamstress, a snappy dresser, a good cook, and could have taught lessons on saving money. If she heard a family member needed help, she’d be right there. She would grumble about it, but she would be there nonetheless! Her family joked that her love language was money, but that was likely due to having so little in the early years, and the bottom line was as much as she loved a stable bank account, you would often find her trying to press money into the hands of her kids or grandchildren, and she generously supported churches, American Indian organizations, veteran’s groups, and other charities.

Susie attended church periodically, but in 1981, she gave her life to Jesus and was baptized at First Christian Church in Columbiana, OH. In recent years, she attended Calvary Baptist Church with her daughter-in-law Karen, making new friends and often meeting them for lunch. If you popped in for an unexpected visit, it was not unusual to find her reading her Bible, written in Japanese, or praying.

As noted, her young daughter, Sandy, proceeded her in death. Her heart was broken a second time in 2012 when her daughter, Judy Adams, married to Bob Adams of Salem, passed away. Her daughter-in-law, Karen Morgan, also passed away in 2023. Family left behind that miss her so much are sons, Jim (Terri) Klemann, Jake (Trish) Klemann of Indiana, Sam (Tina) Klemann of Florida, and Scott Klemann of South Carolina, as well as 16 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.

People meeting the needs of people was important to Susie, so in leu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made in her name to The Big Reach Center of Hope c/o Greenford Christian Church (GCC), in Greenford, OH https://brcoh.org/.

Honoring Susie’s request, a family memorial service will be held at the Boardman Campus of GCC, led by Ken Muller of Canton Christian Home, Mark Pemberton, Regional Worship Minister at GCC, and Anna Yoder, all dear friends of the family.

Also at Susie’s request, funeral arrangements are being handled by Stark Funeral and Cremation Services of Salem, OH.

Susie’s family would like to thank Crossroads Hospice and Shannon Burt (Stark) for their exceptional care and service.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Susan H. (Hisako Usama) Klemann, please visit our floral store.

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