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Kisako Kubokawa

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Kisako "Kii" Kubokawa
A prominent figure in San Francisco's fashion industry, passed away in Berkeley on January 20 at the age of 89. The San Francisco native was the long-time owner and director of Pacific Fashion Institute where she mentored many students who went on to national and international prominence.
Prior to World War II she received instruction in tailoring and fashion design and graduated from the Haz-More School of Dress in San Francisco. She began her teaching profession in 1942 upon her relocation to the Topaz, Utah Internment Camp where she taught fashion design and tailoring for the Utah Public High School. She briefly continued her teaching career in Chicago before returning to San Francisco in 1945 to teach tailoring, pattern design and drafting at Haz-More. She purchased the Haz-More Studio in 1959 taking over the curriculum and directorship. The school, certified for post-secondary education, was renamed the Pacific Fashion Institute (PFI) in 1965.
In addition to her 42-year teaching affiliation with PFI, Kii worked as a free-lance designer for several San Francisco boutiques and private clients. Among special projects she was commissioned to design and replicate the original uniforms worn by the soldiers of the United States Marine Corps for use in the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations. Also, she provided updates to the UC Berkeley "Cal" Marching Band uniforms, where her three children attended.
She was active with industry trade associations, was a guest speaker at local schools and organizations including the Textile Arts Council. She contributed her time and talents to organizing benefit fashion shows for numerous local and international groups including the French Hospital Auxiliary, The Japan Society and Caracas Children's Orthopedic Hospital. She loved to travel and maintained many international friendships as a result of her fashion industry leadership.
She was married to the late Joseph T. Kubokawa, a Bay Area banking executive, and was a longtime resident of El Cerrito. She is survived by their daughter Victoria of Moraga and sons Ronald and Gerald, also of El Cerrito.
Friends are welcome to join in a celebration of Kii's life on Wednesday, February 27th at Noon, at the Mira Vista Golf & Country Club, 7901 Cutting Blvd., El Cerrito, CA 94530, (510) 233-7550.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to J-Sei (formerly Japanese-American Services of the East Bay), 2126 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, (510)848-3560, www.j-sei.org.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 24, 2013
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