Donna Matsuura Yamagata

Donna Matsuura Yamagata
(3/12/1924 – 9/20/2012)

Born March 12, 1924 in Rexburg to Tsuruyo (Kanamoto) and Seiichiro Matsuura and passed away Sept. 20, 2012 in Salt Lake City. Donna attended Madison High School in Rexburg.
She married John Yamagata, May 9, 1944 and relocated to Minneapolis, Minn., where John attended Language School for the Military Intelligence Service and Donna attended clothing design school. Donna was a fabulous seamstress and was able to add style and elegance to everything she touched.
After World War II, the family lived in Teton. They resided in Blackfoot for more than 20 years, later in Pocatello, and finally in Sandy, Uah. John and Donna also lived with their son, Ben, in Washington, D.C. for nearly five years before returning to Sandy.
Donna is survived by her husband and children, Gordon (Judie), Ben, Blaine, Brenda, Ann, Debbie (Gary), and John, Jr.; grandchildren Isaac (Tricia), Mat, Rachael, Benjamin (Christie), and Allison, as well as five great-grandchildren Peyton, Addison, Benjamin-Michael, Lana and Tanner.
Donna’s greatest joy was her children. Even though they all lived in different parts of the country, she and John were able to see each of them regularly throughout the year.
Donna is also survived by her brothers residing in Idaho – Gene, Glenn and Brent Matsuura. She was preceded in death by her daughter Ann, brothers Jack and Tom, sisters Marye, Lyle, and Marie.
Donna was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August, 2011. She was no stranger to the challenges of cancer – having survived a 1993 diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer. During the fall of 2011 she valiantly completed multiple rounds of chemotherapy in Salt Lake City and in April of this year, received radiation treatments at Stanford University Medical in Palo Alto, Calif. She was recently hospitalized for complications following a procedure to address the pain associated with pancreatic cancer and it was during that stay that she passed away.
Donna will be remembered for her generosity, creativity, caring nature and devotion to her husband, family, and friends. For more than 40 years, she enjoyed china painting and more recently, meeting with the “the girls” each week to create beautiful pieces of art. In the fall each year, she was dipping chocolates and producing handmade candy with her life partner – John. She and John also became avid Utah Jazz fans able to impressively recite players and stats! Donna will be sorely missed by her family and scores of friends and relatives.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations be made to your favorite charity, or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (
A private service was conducted immediately following Donna’s passing. The family will hold a “Celebration of Life” in December – during Donna’s favorite time of the year where friends and family can rejoice in the life of our wife, mother, grandmother and friend.