Cover photo for Shirley Izawa Fields's Obituary

Shirley Izawa Fields

Shirley Izawa Fields

Shirley Izawa Fields

July 19, 1930 - April 19, 2021

Shirley Izawa Fields, 90, passed away peacefully on April 19, 2021, on her own terms and timetable, shortly after saying goodbye to family. Shirley, named Taiko Izawa at birth, was born on July 19, 1930 in Mizokuchi, Japan, in Hino District, Tottori Prefecture on the island of Honshu. She was the daughter of Takayo (whose father owned a hotel) and Shoichi Izawa (a merchant marine) and was the youngest of four children. She attended an all-girls high school where she enjoyed playing the lead in musicals and dance performances. She went to finishing school for dressmaking and doll-making and was graduated from Saiga College in Japan.

Having earned the highest level of security clearance from the U.S. Air Force, Shirley worked as an English translator and interpreter in the Communications Command at the Miho Air Force Base in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, Japan. It was there that she met her future husband, Richard (Dick) Fields (deceased 2014) who, after graduating from Harvard, served as a First Lieutenant in the Air Force and an adjutant for the Base commander. Although Dick left Japan to work as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in Helena, Montana, he later returned to marry Shirley. They were married on November 25, 1957 in the Lutheran Church in Tokyo, and a day later, in a Japanese ceremony at the Japanese consulate, followed by receptions at the Meguro Gajyoen in Tokyo and later in Boise.

While living in Helena, Shirley and Dick had their first daughter, Stephanie. Daughters Diana and Debbie (deceased 1998) were born when they moved to Denver, Colorado, and Shirley stayed busy with the girls while Dick worked full-time at the Martin Company and attended law school. The family then settled in Boise near Dick’s parents, where son Steve was born, and Dick practiced law for 50 years.

Because she was so busy with being a devoted wife and mother to her active family, it went largely unnoticed that Shirley had hidden talents (which her children like to believe she passed along to them and her grandchildren). She was an artist—her charcoal sketches, paintings, and etchings are exquisite, and she enjoyed taking art classes at Boise State University and “helping” (sometimes without invitation) with her children’s art projects. She was an expert seamstress—she loved the challenge of finding a too-large piece of clothing on sale and tailoring it to fit her to perfection. She was a teacher—she tutored young and adult students in Japanese and generously shared her Japanese culture and cuisine with community groups, friends, and family (Japanese relatives visited Shirley and family here, and, in 2016, she treated her family to a 3-week trip to Japan). She was a gardener—she meticulously tended her landscaping, flowers (including nearly 8-year-old potted geraniums in McCall), and vegetable gardens (often working into the night to avoid the worst of Boise’s summer heat). She was a photographer—she never let an event or meal pass without stopping to re-arrange subjects and snapping a photo. And, finally, although she was an avid BSU basketball and football fan (even after Dick died), she was not a remarkable athlete—she surprised many, however, by beating them swiftly at a game of ping pong or while bowling.

Shirley and Dick were inseparable, especially during their last several decades together. They volunteered together in the PTA for their children’s schools, enjoyed social outings at the Arid Club, spent time, year-round, with family at their house in McCall, and both shared a commitment to the Boise community by supporting local nonprofit organizations like the Boise Philharmonic, the Learning Lab, and the Salvation Army. Although she did not become an Honorary Rotarian until after Dick passed away, Shirley was passionate about Rotary International. She relished traveling with Dick to all 41 Rotary clubs in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon when he was District 5400 Governor, and she made friendships with Rotarians world-wide, having attended 19 Rotary International conventions across the world (with some of her favorites allowing for a homestay in Australia and side trips to places like Machu Picchu, Taipei, Bolivia, Buenos Aires, Portugal, and, of course, Japan). She and Dick were Major Donors to Rotary, multiple Paul Harris Fellows, members of the Paul Harris Society and Bequest Society, and were honored for their substantial contributions to Rotary with an award from the Boise Rotary Club that will continue for others in their names: “The Dick and Shirley Fields Award.”

Shirley also became a regular at Dick’s legal professional activities where he served in leadership roles for numerous local, regional, and national bar organizations. Many joked that she attended so many bar association meetings, she had more continuing legal education credits than most lawyers. Even after Dick passed away, she continued to be invited to attend events for Concordia Law School, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the past Idaho Bar Commissioners, and the American Inns of Court. In 2019, Shirley herself was honored as the recipient of an Idaho State Bar/Idaho Law Foundation Service Award for “individuals from around Idaho who have contributed their time and talent to serving the public and improving the legal profession.”

When asked to share descriptors or traits about Shirley, her family, grandchildren, and friends had many: “Social”—no one was a stranger; if she met you, she wanted to know your life story, and she always made sure to say hello. “Attentive”—she never forgot a detail or historical fact. “Curious/Inquisitive”—she kept a running list of things she wanted to learn or places to find on a map. “Playful/Hilarious”—she delighted her grandchildren with silly faces and antics, while embarrassing her children with outlandish, unfiltered comments. “Perfectionist”—enough said! “Persistent/Passionate”—her commitment to a position, argument, or cause was unwavering. “Sweet”— she always offered a sweet treat to spoil her grandchildren or secretly dropped food for her grand-dogs. “Beloved”—the family loved her and centered their lives and decisions around her. And, finally, “One-of-a-Kind”—her special zest for life and connection with others are irreplaceable and will be missed by all.

Shirley is survived by her family: daughter, Stephanie Bentley and her fiancé, Reginald Halsell (Boise); daughter, Diana Fields and her husband, Todd Fisher (Boulder, CO), and their children, Anika and Allison; her son, Steve Fields and his wife, Mary Jane Fields (Boise), and their children, Oscar and Koji; her sister-in-law, Ann Kaufman and her family; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins in Japan. She was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, Takane, Takeshi, and Chigito Izawa, her devoted husband, Dick Fields, and her daughter, Debbie Fields Rowan (whose tragic murder forever left a hole in her heart). The family owes a special thanks to her loving caregivers, especially her dear friend, Veronica Rogers.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make donations to the Learning Lab, Inc., the Greater Boise Rotary Foundation, or the charity of your choice.

Due to current pandemic restrictions and health and safety concerns, there will be no in-person memorial service at this time. Instead, the family would appreciate receiving online memories or tributes to celebrate Shirley’s life at the Alden Waggoner funeral chapel website or (Shirley I. Fields).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Izawa Fields, please visit our flower store.


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