Motome Kay Van Horn

Date of Birth

December 14, 1936

Date of Death

May 12, 2021

Dearly loved wife, mother and grandmother, Kay passed away May 12, 2021, at the age of 84.

Kay was born December 14, 1936, in Arroyo Grande, California to Akira and Masako Saruwatari, the second of four daughters. In 1942 her family was taken to Gila River Relocation Camp, later resided in Chicago and ultimately rejoined grandparents in Santa Barbara (1946).

Kay attended Franklin Elementary, SB Junior High and graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1954. She played cello in the orchestra and sang with choral groups so was involved in all musical concerts and productions. Dear friend Donnie Yee encouraged her to attend SBCC where she was Student Body Treasurer and earned her AA degree. Since 1989, she has been elected to the SBHS Alumni Association Board of Directors while also continuing to serve as a key member of the Class of ’54 Reunion Committee.

Kay married Robert Yamada in 1958 and they raised four daughters in Santa Barbara. She felt privileged to be a “stay at home mom” – enjoying cooking and sewing for her girls. Kay also enjoyed her volunteer work at Mountain View School – receiving a PTA Lifetime Achievement Award. During this same period, she was also a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader. Following her divorce in 1983 Kay became a “Reach to Recovery” speaker and received a 1989 Volunteer Service Award for outstanding performance from the local Cancer Society.

In 1986, Kay began her 18-year career with SB County Treasurer–Tax Collector Gary Feramisco, retiring as Department Business Manager (2004). She was proud that she had the opportunity to demonstrate her administrative abilities and felt that these were some of her most rewarding years. She was married to Dennis Brown from 1989 to 1994 when he succumbed to cancer. Thereafter, she remained busy with her employment, volunteer and travel activities and spending time with family. She also resumed playing her cello and enjoyed participating in the Oaks Bible Church Orchestra (and its predecessor, Trinity Baptist) plus the Adult Education Orchestra. For decades, she called Bethany Congregational her church family where she grew in her faith.

Kay married William P. (Bill) Van Horn November 10, 2001. They met in 7th grade, were longtime friends on the SBHS Class of ’54 Committee and were blessed with 20 very happy years of life together. During this period, she enjoyed growing orchids and increased her involvement with the Asian-American Committee, SB Trust for Historic Preservation.

A sweet, gracious, loving, talented, kind, hardworking and generous lady, Kay was adored by family and friends. She was very appreciative of the medical care she received from local physicians, nurses and staff, especially Dr. Mukul Gupta. The thoughtful actions and prayers by her many friends were a great comfort to Kay during her illness. Throughout her life, she remained steadfast in her faith and hope in God.

Kay is survived by her husband Bill; daughters Linda Weisman, Adele Goggia, Denise Yamada, Marie Yamada, stepson Steven Van Horn; grandchildren Andrew Weisman, Carolyn Weisman, Gio Goggia, Siena Goggia, Ria Axelson, Toshi Miller; sisters Aiko Barbara Horn, Yukiko Dianne Takeuchi, Ann Margaret (Peggy) Hergenroether, sister-in-law Judith VH Hill; Aunt Kiyo Nakagawa and numerous nieces/nephews/cousins.

A memorial service celebrating Motome Kay Saruwatari Van Horn’s life will be held 11 AM, July 17, 2021 at Bethany Congregational Church at 556 N. Hope Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93110.

In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to donate to a charity of their choice in remembrance of Kay.


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