Tamiko N. Sampson

March 30, 1925 ~ August 28, 2022 (age 97)


Tamiko Nakagawa Sampson

On Sunday, August 28, 2022, Tamiko N. Sampson, a beloved mother, passed away at her home at age 97 surrounded by her family. Born in Brawley, CA, in 1925, Tamiko was the oldest of 6 children and led a remarkable and rich life. She was the daughter of Tanichi and Mitsu Inoue Nakagawa. In 1938 the Nakagawa family moved to Hiroshima, Japan; most survived the A-bomb. After the war, Tamiko worked for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) first as a medical interpreter and then as the interpreter for the General in charge. She met William who also worked for the ABCC. They married and lived in Kure, Japan. Returning to the USA, they first moved close to William’s family in Iowa and relocated to Pittsburgh/Dormont in 1957. Tamiko was talented, brave, generous, confident in her abilities, loved her work and her family, and approached her life with “Ganbatte.” She was a savvy businesswoman, the expert on sewing and fabric, and fiercely loyal to those she loved. She taught fine apparel sewing and tailoring through Gimbels Department Store and the Keystone Oaks’ Adult Education Program, reportedly changing the lives of local women who wanted to learn the art of sewing from the best. She was recruited to the position of Fabric Buyer for Stephen Richards Department Store in the Banksville Plaza. As the Buyer, she transformed their fabric department from ordinary to extraordinary. She created strong business and personal relationships with her New York vendors and jobbers gaining their trust and respect. They, in turn, provided her with unique and designer fabrics and unheard of access to the cutting rooms of Donna Karan, Halston and other well-known designers, enabling her to bring the ‘designer ends’ of those runway fabrics to home sewers in Pittsburgh. She significantly assisted in the writing and illustration of Super Sewing, The New Bishop/Arch Book (1974). After Stephen Richards closed, she opened her own store, The Fabric Place with partner Gertrude Farrell at 246 Washington Road in 1981. They specialized in designer and fine fabrics that drew discerning sewers, brides, costumers and seamstresses through their door. In 1983, her youngest daughter, Tami joined her mother in partnership at the store and in 1992, they moved their business to 727 Washington Road. Tamiko enjoyed working at the store until March 2020. Tami continues to run the business today. Tamiko was preceded in death by her husband William H. (2006). She is survived by her four children James (the late Annette) of Dormont, Patricia Sampson Graner (Lawrence) of Delray Beach, Fl, Kim Sampson of Mt. Lebanon, and Tami Sampson (Patrick McNamara) of Mt. Lebanon; her grandchildren, William Sampson (Kimberly), Patrick Sampson, Seth Sampson and Meghan Bettega; and one great grandson, Jaxson Sampson. She is also survived by two sisters, Kyoko Kondo, Wellesley, MA and Yoko Yoshida, Chiba, Japan, and numerous nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends at Laughlin Cremation and Funeral Tributes, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, from 3:00 until 7:00 p.m. Service and Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to South Hills Interfaith Ministry (SHIM) @ , The Pittsburgh Symphony @ , The Pittsburgh Sakura Project @  or an organization of your choice.


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Gathering of Family and Friends
August 30, 2022

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Laughlin Cremation & Funeral Tributes
222 Washington Rd
Mt Lebanon, Pennsylvania 15216

Service and Interment Private

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