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Mitsuko Shrem, artist, wife, mother, friend, teacher and muse succumbed to pancreatic cancer on March 19, 2010. She fought bravely and without complaint and has now been mercifully released from the tribulations and sufferings of an entire year’s illness.

Mitsuko led a charmed and graceful life. Born in Japan into a Samurai family, she was a woman ahead of her time. 

She met Jan Shrem, her soul mate and the love of her life, in Tokyo in 1960 and they were inseparable. 

Mitsuko lived all over the world with Jan, always making fast and lasting friends. 

She was passionate about art (hers as well as others’) spending countless hours with Jan learning about an artist’s works before making a final purchase selection.

While living in Paris, her husband Jan decided to quit and sell his publishing companies after 25 years and write a book. After a couple of weeks Mitsuko told him, “I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch — go back to work!” 

That fateful proclamation put the wheels in motion for the couple to embark on a journey into the world of wine. 

Always passionate about wine, they created Clos Pegase Winery in Calistoga, a temple to wine and art. This became their dream come true — a way to nurture their desire to educate and share their love of wine and art with all.

Mitsuko was a health nut and could be found on the tennis court wherever she was. 

She loved travel, the arts, books, nature, people, cooking (she actually cooked for Thomas Keller!) and wine. Although very private, she was an amazing conversationalist and hostess. 

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She had a smile that could light up a room, and often did.

Mitsuko’s grace, poise, generosity and tenacity were inspirational. 

She lives on in our hearts and memories and in the legacy she created with her husband in the Jan and Mitsuko Wine and Art Educational Foundation, a charitable organization in its infancy whose goal is to teach the teachers.

Mitsuko leaves behind Jan Shrem, her beloved husband of 50 years, her treasured sons Marc and David, her family of employees at Clos Pegase and countless cherished friends.

Services will be private and the family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Jan and Mitsuko Wine and Art Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 949, Calistoga, CA 94515.

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