Cathy Naomi Tanaka, a member of the Fukui loved ones small business who was actively involved in neighborhood causes, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her property in Hacienda Heights on March 1. She was 73.
Cathy Tanaka (Toyo Miyatake Studio)
Tanaka was born in Tokyo on July 30, 1949, in the course of the U.S. occupation of Japan, to Soichi and Ruth Fukui. As an infant, she moved with her loved ones to the U.S. and settled in Los Angeles. In July 1951, her sister, Chris, was born and 1½ years later, her brother, Jerry.
About age ten, Tanaka moved with her loved ones to Windsor Hills, exactly where she and her siblings spent the remainder of their childhood. She graduated from Dorsey Higher College in 1968 and studied at UCLA, majoring in French. Soon after graduation, 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 at the loved ones small business, she also became a licensed funeral director and preneed counselor. She continued functioning at the mortuary till her death.
In 1978, she married the really like of her life, Masaru Tanaka. They moved to Hacienda Heights and their loved ones grew by two when they welcomed their sons, Eric in 1980 and Ryan in 1986. She loved supporting her youngsters in their hobbies and activities, specifically basketball. Her loved ones continued to expand in 2012 when Eric married her daughter-in-law Traci, and when Ryan became a father to her initial grandchild, Shay, in 2015. In 2018, she was blessed with two additional grandsons, twins Connor and Mason.
She certainly adored her grandchildren and loved spending time playing, reading books, and getting silly with them. 1 of her most cherished achievements was getting a grandmother.
Tanaka was committed to the neighborhood and was involved with many organizations, like the Military Intelligence Service Association of Southern California, National Japanese American Veterans Council, Go For Broke National Education Center, Nisei Veterans Coordinating Council, and Grateful Crane Ensemble.
The employees, directors, and supporters of GFBNEC mourned Tanaka’s passing. “Cathy was so a lot additional than a member of the board,” stated GFBNEC President Mitchell Maki. “She was a pal to so a lot of of us and an inspiration to all. She demonstrated what it meant to be type and warm, when at the exact same time functioning challenging for what you think in. We will miss her dearly.”
The Grateful Crane Ensemble stated in a statement, “We have been saddened to hear about the sudden passing of Cathy Tanaka, our longtime pal, Grateful Crane board member and quantity one particular dish washer at our Far East Feasts and obento sales.
“She was definitely one particular of these ‘behind the scenes’ players who are the MVPs of just about every organization they’re committed to. They do not seek the limelight or the glory, but they do all the operate. That was Cathy for us, and all the organizations she was involved with. We will miss her kindness, her warm and welcoming smile and her generous spirit.
“We are grateful to have identified her, and thank her for almost everything she has accomplished for us and our neighborhood.”
Cathy Tanaka and Archie Miyatake supported the creating of the documentary “The Manzanar Fishing Club.” (Photo courtesy Cory Shiozaki)
Filmmaker Cory Shiozaki posted a photo of Tanaka with the late photographer Archie Miyatake, noting that each supported his documentary “The Manzanar Fishing Club.” “Cathy will be significantly missed for her committment to the Go For Broke National Education Center. We will miss her power, spirit and smile,” Shiozaki stated.
Tommy Dyo, Tanaka’s cousin, posted, “Cathy was deeply involved in the neighborhood to preserve Japanese American stories from our previous and retell them to new generations. She served our neighborhood with joy, compassion, and generosity. She loved her neighborhood, good friends, loved ones, but specially her sons Eric and Ryan, and husband Masaru.
“Although she expressed her spirituality in her later years with her loving husband at the Buddhist church, her roots have been in the Christian faith. We hold on to the promises in Scripture: ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall under no circumstances perish no one particular can snatch them out of my hand.’ — John ten:28.
“Her kindness is reflected in all she did.”
Tanaka was also passionate about art and loved playing the piano and organ, “paint and sip” wine nights, floral style, drawing, jewelry-creating, musicals, and dancing. She loved animals and more than the years, cared for a myriad of pets, like her beloved golden retrievers, a parrot, and fish. When she wasn’t with loved ones or participating in one particular of her a lot of hobbies, she was catching up and spending time with her a lot of groups of good friends.
She had been significantly searching forward to going to relatives and meeting her new daughter-in-law in Hiroshima this month sadly, her lengthy-awaited trip with Masaru did not come to fruition.
She is survived by her husband, Masaru Tanaka kids, Eric (Traci) and Ryan (Aya) Tanaka grandchildren, Connor and Mason Tanaka, and Shay Tanaka siblings, Chris (Kenny) Kohler and Jerry Fukui niece, Sarah Fukui nephews, Cary Fukui, and Kevin and Sean Kohler she is also survived by 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.