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Kiyoko M. Kaneko

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Kiyoko M. Kaneko
Resident of Los Altos
Kiyoko M. Kaneko passed away on July 8, 2013, at The Terraces of Los Altos, less than two months before her one hundred-second birthday. She was born on September 3, 1911 in South Pasadena, the daughter of Bungoro and Fujino (Iwatsuru) Morey. Her father owned The Asia Company, an import/export business with 4 stores, and a 5th store set to open the first week of December, 1941. Kiyo graduated from Los Angeles High School, then UCLA in 1934. She pledged to the sorority, Chi Alpha Delta (where her sister Shizue was a Charter Member in 1929), and was elected President during her Senior year 1933-1934.
After graduation, she was unable to get a job teaching due to racial prejudice, so Kiyo traveled to Japan in 1935 with a Christian group, and was able to secure a job at Keisen Jogakuen, teaching high school girls how to sew Western clothing. She taught there for two years, traveling to Manchuria, which was occupied by Japan. After being followed by soldiers in Manchuria and in Japan, because she was an American, she decided to return to the U.S. in 1937, via Hawaii.
In Hawaii, she met dentist Dr. Yoshio Herbert Kaneko, and after a period of letter writing, they married, living in Pearl City jutting into Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Kiyo gave birth to four children, but then tragically, Yoshio died at the age of 45, leaving Kiyo to raise her children (ages 6, 8, 10, and 12) on her own, which she courageously did, with the support of her sister Shizue and brother-in-law Dr. Teruo Yoshina. Kiyo worked to send all of her children to college, after which they became accomplished adults in their own fields of work.
She is survived by children, Caro (the late Jim) Hussey, Paul (Carol) Kaneko, Mary (Dan) Chafey, and Glenn (Beverly) Kaneko, grandchildren Takeshi, Tadashi, Pongsak, Daniel, Aya, great-grandchild Christy, brother Arthur, sister Miyoko, and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 566 N. Fifth St., San Jose, on Sun., Aug. 11 at 3 pm., with reception following. Aloha or casual attire. In lieu of flowers, donations to Wesley United Methodist Church building fund, Densho <densho.org>, Asian Rural Institute <friends-ari.org/support-ari>, or .

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Aug. 7, 2013
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