Kay (Kyoko) Asakawa

Date of Birth

June 9, 1921

Date of Death

January 9, 2021

City of Death

Santa Barbara, Ca

Kay (Kyoko) Asakawa (nee Tokuda) was born June 9, 1921 in Brawley, California to parents Sakusaburo and Ryoko Odajima Tokuda. She completed high school and junior college in Imperial Valley, but in 1942, following Executive Order 9066, was forcibly relocated with the rest of her family to the Japanese Internment Camp located at Heart Mountain in Park County, Wyoming. During the war, she and some members of her family were relocated again to Chicago where she worked as a domestic and a waitress in the University of Chicago Faculty Club. She then met Takeo Asakawa, a native of San Diego, who was in Chicago during a term of US Army Service.

The couple married and settled in Pasadena, California where Takeo completed his degree in engineering at Caltech and Kay worked at Caltech in the office of Linus Pauling. Later, the family made their home in Claremont. Kay and Takeo had two sons, Philip (1949) and David (1954).

After the passing of her husband in 1968, Kay moved to Carpinteria, and then to Goleta, where she would make her home for many years. She continued to work in university administration, concluding her career with over a decade of service at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She took joy in the growth of her family, welcoming daughters-in-law, and celebrating the birth of three grandchildren. Throughout her life, she enjoyed creating art, maintaining close contact with family, and exploring and keeping her faith.

She passed away in Santa Barbara on January 9, 2021, knowing that she would soon be gratefully reunited with those she loved who preceded her in passing: her husband, her sons, her brother Tadashi, as well as her sisters Aiko, Shizuko, Lillian, and Emiko.

She is survived by her sister Olympia, sister-in-law Lili Yuriko, her brother-in-law Masato (Bruce) Asakawa, daughters-in-law Joan Asakawa and Ingerid Ekeland, her grandchildren Scott Asakawa, Jessie Ekeland-Asakawa, and Layia Asakawa-Ekeland, as well as her grandchildren-in-law Jaimie Asakawa and Keith Chancey.


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