Kathy Naomi Tanaka, a member of the Fukui family members enterprise who was actively involved in neighborhood affairs, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her household in Hacienda Heights on March 1. She was 73 years old.

Kathy Tanaka (Toyo Miyatake Studio)

Tanaka was born in Tokyo on July 30, 1949, throughout the American occupation of Japan, to Soichi and Ruth Fukui. As a youngster, she moved with her family members to the US and settled in Los Angeles. In July 1951, her sister Chris was born, and a year and a half later her brother Jerry.

About age ten, Tanaka moved with her family members to Windsor Hills, exactly where she and her siblings spent the rest of their childhood. She graduated from Dorsey Higher College in 1968 and attended UCLA, majoring in French. Just after graduating, she spent an extended period of time in Japan to study Japanese language and culture.

In 1979, Tanaka continued her father’s legacy by joining him and her brother at Fukui Mortuary as secretary and treasurer. A fourth generation member of the family members enterprise, she also became a licensed funeral director and bereavement counselor. She continued to function at the mortuary till her death.

In 1978, she married the enjoy of her life, Masaru Tanaka. They moved to Hacienda Heights and their family members grew by two when they welcomed their sons, Eric in 1980 and Ryan in 1986. She loved to assistance her young children in their hobbies and activities, specially basketball. Her family members continued to expand in 2012 when Eric married her sister-in-law Tracy, and Ryan became the father of her 1st grandchild, Shay, in 2015. In 2018, she was blessed with two extra grandchildren, twins Connor and Mason.

She definitely adored her grandchildren and loved spending time playing, reading books and getting silly with them. 1 of her preferred accomplishments was getting a grandmother.

Tanaka was committed to the neighborhood and was involved in numerous organizations, such as the Military Intelligence Association of Southern California, the National Council of Japanese American Veterans, the Go For Broke National Education Center, the Nisei Veterans Coordinating Council, and the Grateful Crane Ensemble.

GFBNEC employees, directors and supporters mourned Tanaka’s death. “Kathy was so a lot extra than a board member,” mentioned GFBNEC President Mitchell Mackey. “She was a pal to several of us and an inspiration to all. She showed what it signifies to be type and warm, when at the exact same time operating challenging for what you think in. We will miss him really a lot.”

The Grateful Crane Ensemble mentioned in a statement: “We have been saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Kathy Tanaka, our longtime pal, Grateful Crane board member and quantity one particular dishwasher at our Far East Fests and Obento Sales.

“She was definitely one particular of these ‘behind the scenes’ players who are the MVPs of what ever organization they are committed to.” They never seek the limelight or fame, but they do all the function. That was Kathy to us and all the organizations she was involved with. We will miss her kindness, her warm and type smile and her generous spirit.

“We are grateful to have recognized her and thank her for anything she has carried out for us and our neighborhood.”

Kathy Tanaka and Archie Miyatake supported the filming of the documentary “Manzanar Fishing Club”. (Photo courtesy of Cori Shiozaki)

Filmmaker Corey Shiozaki posted a photo of Tanaka with the late photographer Archie Miyatake, noting that each supported his documentary “The Manzanar Fishing Club.” “Cathi will be drastically missed for her dedication to the Go For Broke National Education Center. We will miss her power, spirit and smile,” Shiozaki mentioned.

Tommy Dio, Tanaka’s cousin, announced, “Kathy was deeply involved in the neighborhood to preserve the Japanese-American stories of our previous and retell them to new generations. She served our neighborhood with joy, compassion and generosity. She loved her neighborhood, pals, family members, but specially her sons Eric and Ryan and husband Masaru.

“Even though she expressed her spirituality in later years with her beloved husband in the Buddhist church, her roots have been in the Christian faith. We hold quickly to the guarantee in the Holy Scriptures: “I give them eternal life, and they shall in no way perish no one particular can snatch them from my hand.’ —John ten:28.

“Her kindness is reflected in anything she did.”

Tanaka was also passionate about the arts and enjoyed playing the piano and organ, “paint and sip” wine nights, floral design and style, drawing, jewelry producing, musicals and dancing. She loved animals and cared for numerous pets more than the years, such as her beloved golden retrievers, parrots and fish. When she wasn’t with her family members or participating in one particular of her several hobbies, she was catching up and spending time with her several groups of pals.

She was really a lot seeking forward to going to relatives and meeting her new sister-in-law in Hiroshima this month regrettably, her extended-awaited trip with Masaru did not materialize.

She is survived by her husband, Masaru Tanaka young children, Eric (Tracy) and Ryan (Aya) Tanaka grandchildren, Connor and Mason Tanaka, and Shay Tanaka siblings, Chris (Kenny) Kohler and Jerry Fuquay niece, Sara Fukui nephews, Cari Fuquay, and Kevin and Sean Kohler there are also other relatives right here and in Japan.

Visitation was held on March 12 at Fukui Mortuary. A private memorial service will be held at Nishi Hongwanji at a later date.

By Editor

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