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Frances Midori Kaji


1928 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Frances Midori Kaji Obituary
Frances Midori Kaji, wife of Bruce T. Kaji, and longtime resident of Gardena, California, passed away on November 26, 2016 from complications following hip surgery. She was 88 years old. Frances Kaji was born in Gardena, California in 1928 to Dr. and Mrs. Kikuwo Tashiro. Frances attended Gardena Elementary School and Gardena Junior and Senior High School. She and her three sisters led an idyllic childhood until President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which forced her family along with more than 120,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps. Her family was incarcerated in Poston, Arizona and was able to relocate to Brighton and Denver, Colorado before eventually resettling in Los Angeles. Frances graduated from Hollywood High School in 1946 and attended Los Angeles City College and Los Angeles State College with a major in Elementary Education. On July 25, 1954, Frances married Bruce Kaji. The couple resided in Gardena, California and she soon became a fixture in city and church activities. Frances was active in church and community affairs through the 153rd Street and Amestoy School PTAs; Girl Scout Troop 510; Boy Scout Troop 719; President of the Gardena YWCA; Gardena Valley Baptist Church; President of the American Baptist Women's Auxiliary; President of the Gardena Sister City Association; member of the City of Gardena Human Relations Commission; and was inducted into the City of Gardena Hall of Fame. A devoted wife to her husband, Bruce, she was a loyal supporter and partner throughout their 62 years of marriage, whether it was starting the Japanese American National Museum, Merit Savings Bank, or in becoming the first elected Japanese American on the Mainland when Bruce became Gardena City Treasurer in 1960. "Auntie Fran" enjoyed babysitting generations of crying infants in the church nursery to chaperoning students from Ichikawa, Japan and Rosarito Beach, Mexico to the Hollywood Bowl and Disneyland. Frances never let the shame and humiliation of the Wartime Evacuation keep her down. Always opinionated and feisty, she remained a Democrat even though her husband was a staunch Republican. She made sure to send in her absentee ballot for the 2016 Presidential Election. Frances is survived by her husband, Bruce; children Jonathan (Lisa); Miki (Brad); Troy (Marguerite); grandchildren Naomi Fa-Kaji, Josiah Hamill; Noelle Fa-Kaji; Reyna Fa-Kaji; Austin Kaji; Hope Fa-Kaji; Gemma Fa-Kaji and Mia Kaji; sisters Sachiko Watanabe and Kaoru Atsumi. Frances' memorial service will be held on Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 10:30 AM at Gardena Valley Baptist Church, 1630 West 158th Street, Gardena, CA. The family requests that flowers please be omitted. www.FukuiMortuary.com 213-626-0441
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 11, 2016
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