Minnie Sasahara was born to Harold Naneo Sasahara and Blanche Yukiye Takayama Sasahara on February 20, 1926. She graduated with a BM in piano from Oberlin’s Conservatory in 1947. In 1954 she married Robert “Bob” Avery (Oberlin ’48), who would work as a sociology professor at the University of Pittsburgh for 34 years . After Oberlin, Minnie obtained an MFA in musicology and piano from Carnegie Mellon Institute of Technology, then a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Some of her post-Oberlin jobs include music instructor, piano teacher, concert pianist (playing as a soloist with the Boston Pops), judicial clerk at a juvenile court, and staff attorney/child advocacy legal aid at the non-profit organization Legal Aid for Children, for which she was featured in Pittsburgh magazine’s article “Real Pittsburghers who made a difference in 1988”.
Minnie and Bob had two children, Robin Kimiko and Christopher Norio Avery, and grandchildren Nathan and Daniel Laurer. Bob passed away in 2003.
Minnie’s brother Arthur A. Sasahara also went to Oberlin; he graduated in 1951.