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Nobuko Patton


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Nobuko Patton Obituary
PATTON Nobuko Toda, passed away on August 4 surrounded by her loved ones after a long battle with lung cancer despite having never smoked. Nobuko is survived by her husband, Nathan Whitney Patton, her successor as Japanese language instructor at Berea College, and her beloved toy poodle Fluffy. Nobuko thoroughly enjoyed her first career as a distinguished television and radio announcer in her native Japan, which included work for CNN as well as being an evening news anchor for a Japanese national TV network. Nobuko later established a very successful second career in Kentucky as a teacher of Japanese language and culture. Throughout her life, "Patton-Sensei" went to extraordinary lengths to promote Japanese studies and instill a love of language, learning, and travel in students. Her joyful dedication and zest for life inspired countless Japanese language learners at Berea College, the University of Kentucky, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Jessie Clark Middle School, and Scott County High School in Georgetown, Kentucky, where she and her husband made their home. With her husband, she co-authored the acclaimed textbook, Beginning Japanese: Your Pathway to Dynamic Language Acquisition (Tuttle, 2010). Nobuko always tried to listen carefully to and understand everyone around her on a deep individual and personal level because she recognized the healing power that comes from being able to express yourself to someone who understands. Nobuko was a great communicator, but in many ways she was an even better listener. Nobuko loved deeply. She loved her life, her family, her friends, her students, her career, language, travel, music, animals, nature, stargazing. . . Nobuko's most enduring legacy will be the light and the joy that her million dollar smile, beautiful soul, kindness, and love gave to everyone around her. A memorial service for Nobuko will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, August 18 in the main building of the Yuko-en on the Elkhorn Japanese Garden, 700 Cincinnati Road, Georgetown, KY 40324. Visitation will take place before the service from 1:00-2:00. In honor of Nobuko's many contributions to the study of Japanese language at Berea College, a memorial fund has been established. Contributions to this fund will be used to continue and deepen her commitment to promoting Japanese studies at Berea. Memorial donations may be sent to: The Nobuko Patton Memorial Scholarship Fund, Berea College, CPO 2216, 101 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY 40404. Nobuko also contributed greatly as a volunteer and trustee to the Yuko-en Japanese Garden in Georgetown. Memorial donations for the preservation of the garden can be sent to: Yuko-En on the Elkhorn, c/o Scott County Chamber of Commerce, 160 East Main Street, Georgetown, KY 40324. Arrangements by Spring Grove Funeral Home, 4389 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati.
Published in Lexington Herald-Leader on Aug. 12, 2018
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