Ai Constance Moore

Obituary of Ai Constance Moore

Ai Constance Handa Moore died in her home at sunrise on 13 June 2015. Born and raised in Seattle, she lived and worked in Princeton over the course of thirty-three years before moving to Monroe Township in 1985. She was 90. Ai's young life was shaped, like that of most other Japanese Americans on the West Coast, by the dislocations of the Second World War. She was a student at Garfield High School when she and her family were forcibly "evacuated" from their homes in the mass relocation of Japanese to internment camps in the interior West. Her family's incarceration began at the Puyallup Fairgrounds before transfer to the internment camp in desolate Minadoka, Idaho, where Ai completed her secondary school studies and received her high school diploma. Thanks to the American Friends Service Committee, Ai was permitted to leave the internment camp to pursue a college education on the East Coast at Beaver College (now Arcadia University) in Pennsylvania. At the war's end, when she and her family were allowed to return to Seattle, she transferred to the University of Washington and earned her bachelor of arts in the department of sociology, a degree that was formally conferred only in 2015. At the university she was a co-founder of Valeda, a Japanese-American sorority, at a time when established on-campus sororities did not welcome non-white co-eds. During summers while at the University of Washington, Ai did volunteer social work in Harlem, New York, and then became a resident volunteer with inmates at the New Jersey State Reformatory for Women, at the time an open correctional facility at Clinton Farms. Ai served as a volunteer aide on an Indian reservation in Washington before becoming a junior case worker for the King County welfare department, Seattle. She was a member of the Japanese Presbyterian Church in Seattle and served on the boards of the Seattle Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Seattle Urban League. In 1952 Ai moved to Princeton, New Jersey. In Princeton she joined the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, where she served as church secretary in 1950s, and married James W. Moore. She worked at the Educational Testing Service when it was headquartered on Nassau Street, Princeton, and as a social worker with Mercer County Neighborhood Youth Corps. She launched Handa Food Management in Princeton, providing food catering services to individual and corporate clients. Ai was a contributor to a Time-Life volume on international cuisines and taught cooking at the Princeton Y adult school. As Handa Food Management's owner-operator, she ran the dining facility of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for many years. She retired in 1987. Ai was active in the Princeton community, serving on the boards of the Princeton Nursery School, Princeton Homemakers, and the Princeton Day School Parents Association, and was active in the Soroptimist Club. With a teaching diploma in Japanese tea ceremony and flower arrangement, she pursued Japanese paper arts through her entire adult life. Her other interests included interior design and travel, particularly to Japan and Italy. Ai was preceded in death by her parents, Yuki and Takeyoshi Handa, originally of Fukushima and Niigata, Japan, respectively; a sister, Shizuko Nakashima Handa of Koriyama, and brother Michihiko Handa of Los Angeles; and her former husband James Moore. She is survived by a daughter, Yuki Moore Laurenti, and her husband Jeffrey; a grandson, Mario Laurenti; a brother, Yoshihiko Robert Handa of Bellevue, Washington; nephews Dan Handa and David Handa, respectively of Gig Harbor and Seattle, Washington, and Doug Handa of Poway, California; and cousins in Seattle and in Koriyama and Tokyo, Japan. A funeral and memorial to Ai's life will be celebrated at Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 18 July. Ai requested that, in lieu of flowers, friends might make donations to the Mario Laurenti '03 Financial Aid Endowment at the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, 1128 Great Road, Princeton 08540.
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