Yoko Miyake Okazaki
by Linda Okazaki
Yoko Okazaki passed away peacefully on 2 December 2016 at the age of 85. She endured Parkinson’s disease for many years. Although her health declined, her spirit never did.
Yoko was born 21 November 1931 in the village of Yorishima, along the Inland Sea of Japan. Her parents were Tomoharu Miyake and Ocho Nakamura. Yoko was the third child of six. Her younger siblings, Kazumi and Akimasa, predeceased her. The family moved to Kurashiki when Yoko was about 3 years old. Her sisters recalled that she was outgoing and social as a child, and always eager to be photographed. Yoko met Tee in 1946, when she was 15. They married in 1952, when she was 20. He was the athletic American, a renunciate who moved to Japan with his Issei parents following their incarceration during WWII.
As a young woman, Yoko was trained and licensed in Ikenobo, a traditional form of Japanese flower arranging. Later, she developed a passion for both singing and gardening. While living in Japan, she especially enjoyed cultivating tomatoes and zucchini.
Tee and Yoko moved to California in 2001, living first in Moraga and then in Walnut Creek. Even in the final weeks of her life, Yoko found tremendous pleasure in her Walnut Creek garden
Yoko is survived by her two sons: Ted (Linda) and Denis (Denise); five grandchildren: Matthew, Samantha, Bryce, Mariko, and Carson; three sisters: Kyoko Ogo, Shoko Miyake, and Mayumi Miyake; sister-in-law Maru Hiratzka; brother-in-law Sid Okazaki (Yuki); and many nieces and nephews. Her husband, Tee, passed away in 2014.
A celebration of Yoko’s life will be held at Hull’s in Walnut Creek on Thursday December 29 at 11:00, followed by a luncheon. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to J-Sei (J-Sei.org/donate or 1285 66th St., Emeryville, CA 94608).