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Shizuko Grace Santistevan

1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Shizuko Grace Santistevan Obituary
Santistevan, Shizuko Grace

Shizuko Grace Santistevan entered the gates of heaven on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. She was surrounded by her loving family.

Born in Osaka, Japan on May 6, 1927, Grace was one of five children.

As a young child she had a strong will to pursue an education along with the desire to teach others. She graduated from Akashi Teacher's College for Girls in 1946.

She met her husband, Amadeo, while he was stationed with the United States Army in Japan. They married in 1951, started a family and lived in five states and in Germany before finally settling down in Albuquerque, NM.

She was highly respected in the local Japanese community and was active in the Japanese American Citizens League. She pioneered and helped build the Japanese language program for the Modern and Classical Languages Department at the University of New Mexico and was an instructor there for 12 years.

Grace deeply loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a gentle, kind, and selfless woman of God.

Grace was preceded in death by her husband, Amadeo Joseph Santistevan; mother, Hatsu Tanaka; father, Risaburo Tanaka; brother, Kinichi Tanaka; sister, Kazuko Peterson; and brother, Teruo Tanaka.

She is survived by one sister, Akiko Haga of Japan; her daughters; Susana Beck, JoAnn Smith, Carol Graebel (Michael), Shirley Lee (Larry), and son, Michael (Minna). Also surviving her are seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as well as special family members.

The family would like to express gratitude to the caregivers who loved and assisted Grace.

A private family service will be held Thursday, May 18, 2017. Interment will be at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Please visit our online guestbook for Grace at

Published in Albuquerque Journal on May 14, 2017
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