Joanne Ikeda
1944 - 2018
{ "" }
Share Joanne's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Joanne Pakel Ikeda

May 17, 1944 - November 27, 2018

Internationally known nutritionist, Joanne P. Ikeda, traveled to a new dimension on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. She regretted leaving her wonderful husband, Roy H. Ikeda, and her two marvelous daughters, Melinda Mayumi Ikeda and Jennifer Ayame Ikeda, but knew she would be reunited with them in the Great Beyond.
Joanne was known for her role in the development of a new approach to weight management entitled Health at Every Size® (HAES). Mid-career she came to the conclusion that subjecting large people to food restriction, body dissatisfaction, and size discrimination was futile and only resulted in physical, psychological and social damage to these individuals. She and others determined that rather than focus on weight, the focus needed to be on health. Research showed that many large people could improve all aspects of health with lifestyle modifications unaccompanied by weight loss. Joanne cherished the awards she received from NAAFA, a civil rights organization for fat people and their friends, for her work advocating body size acceptance and fighting size discrimination. She testified before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before they voted to adopt an ordinance banning size discrimination in employment, housing, adoptions, jury selection and other domains. She was highly respected for her research on the food habits of minority populations living in California; she conducted community collaborative research with Hmong-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Black Americans, and California Native Americans. She found many positive things happening in those communities. She was a member of the faculty in the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley, for close to 35 years. Joanne helped many students gain knowledge and skills in the areas of nutrition education and counseling. She served as President of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was on more professional committees than she cared to count.
After retirement, Joanne was elected President of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and in 2018 was honored to receive the prestigious Helen Denning Ullrich Award for Lifetime Excellence in Nutrition Education. She continued to work as a consultant for the Cartoon Network and did volunteer work with Girls Inc., Reading Partners, Eden Housing, and served as the Registered Dietitian for the Order of Malta Clinic in Oakland.
She was wealthy in her many friends, her sisters, Bonnie Headlee and Irene Pakel, her brother, Scott Pakel, as well as her sister-in-law, Minako Beusch, her brothers-in-law, Willi Beusch and Chuck Headlee, and her nephew, Michael Beusch. Her greatest contribution to this world was her two daughters, Mindi, a graduate of UCLA and a marketing executive, and Jenny, a graduate of the drama division of The Juilliard School and a successful actress. She thanks her husband, Roy, for his love and support through forty-nine years of marriage.
A celebration of Joanne's life will be held on Saturday, December 8 at 11:00 am at the Santos Robinson Mortuary, 160 Estudillo Ave, San Leandro. Instead of flowers, Joanne requested donations in her name be made to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Foundation at or 9100 Purdue Road, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46268.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, 2018.
Celebration of Life
11:00 AM
Funeral services provided by
Order by phone: (866) 764-7853
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Santos-Robinson Mortuary
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
23 entries
March 13, 2019
I am in shock as I just learned of Joanne's passing. I feel truly blessed to have had Joanne in my life. Being a colleague was wonderful. I met her in 1995 before I founded The Body Positive, and she was supportive right from the start. She was/will forever be, one of The Body Positive's angels and staunchest supporters. She promoted our radical work, taught us so much as we developed our programs, and remained a fan and promoter even after she retired. I'll never forget her helping me out at a dietetics conference where I was a presenter, to answer a participant who said she could never use our work because we didn't use the BMI as a health indicator. Up stood Joanne who looked at me and said, "Connie, I'll take this one," and then proceeded to explain to this person why her beliefs would cause more harm than good to children. We continued to meet for coffee once a year after her retirement. I loved hearing about the exciting places in the world she and Roy had visited throughout the year, and to hear about her daughters lives. Her love for her daughters as she spoke caused her to beam with light. Proud mama for sure! Roy, Jenny, and Mindi, I am so very sad for your loss. I will love Joanne for the rest of my days and beyond, and feel her love and support in return.
Connie Sobczak
December 28, 2018
I served with Joanne on The Child Nutrition Advisory Counsel, an advisory body for The State Department of Education from 1991-1996. I was the Classroom Teacher on the council, and as its' Chair sometimes needed scientific nutrition information for forming agendae for the group. Joanne was always gracious and forthcoming with facts, whenever I needed them. She was a valued colleague to me, as well as, a person who treated people with friendliness and respect.
Candace Kahn
December 21, 2018
I am in shock and saddened to learn about Joanne's passing. I was working with Joanne for more than ten year at UC Berkeley, Joanne had a passion for the community of immigrants and underserved peoples. She was always smiling even when she was tired, she had the calmest heart and voices that soothed a person's nervousness or worries. She loved to share all her happiness about Mindi Jenny and Roy. She made you feel at home in her heart. You are always in my memories.
Joanne Rest in peace in God's loving hands
Kim Nguyen
December 19, 2018
I am very sorry to hear the news of Joanne's passing. She was a colleague who did her best to make this world a better place. May she rest in peace.
Kathy Sweeney
December 19, 2018
I am so sorry to learn about Joanne. I worked with her on a project back in the early 1990's; she was a wealth of knowledge and an inspiration. She has made a huge contribution to the Dietetics field. My sympathy to her family. Her nutrition contributions will live on in her writings and her students.

Robyn Gaines-Moss, MS, RDN
December 7, 2018

Please accept my sincere condolences for your family's loss. May the God who binds up the brokenhearted and comforts all who mourns, sustain and give you strength through this most difficult time. Isaiah 61:1,2
December 6, 2018
Dec 6, 2018. We are all in Shock reading this! I'm so truly sorry to the family. I'm a member of her Book Club and wish there was something i could do! I saw her recently and she seemed so fine! She even emailed us about our next meeting!! My deepest sympathy to the family.
Linda Maltby
December 6, 2018
December 6, 2018
We are so sorry Jenny, and thinking of you and your whole family and sending so much light and love your way we can't even say.
Daniel, Addie, and Bailey Talbott
December 6, 2018
Dear Roy,

John called and told me about Joanne's passing. His voice brought back memories going back a long time; times that we shared while at Berkeley. It is unfortunate that at our time in life we often recollect and reconnect at events such as these.

Irene and I send our deepest condolences to you and your family.

Dick and Irene Sasaki
Richard & Irene Sasaki
December 3, 2018
My deepest sympathy to the Ikeda family. May fond memories of happy times spent together comfort you and the peace from God that surpasses all thought, sustain you during this difficult time.
December 3, 2018
I was so blessed to have taken a class from Joanne at UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). I loved how she would question us students in a way that was not threatening and instead allowed us to pause and think things through, while she would gently guide and question us. It was a very effective way to learn. She was always generous with her time and ideas. She was welcoming as well. I remember her inviting me to one of the 1st HAES (we didn't even have a name for it then) workshop @ Cal, stating she thought I may be able to get a lot out of it. She was right! The philosophy and approach resonated with what made sense to me. I am ever grateful for her, her work and perseverance. Love you bunches Joanne. You are an amazing mentor, pioneer and warrior. Peace to you and yours.
Stephanie Brooks
December 2, 2018
I've known Joanne and her husband Roy for 47 years and their two children since their births. Joanne was a kind, thoughtful and genuinely nice person who walked her talk and followed her beliefs. She was bright, loving and will be very much missed by her family, those of us who considered her a good friend and by her professional community, which so benefited from her intelligent work.
Hindi Greenberg
December 2, 2018
Joanne was always a lovely hostess, a fun travel companion and friend. She had good taste and an eye for beautiful things...including the jewelry that she made. Her presence at our 'AHAmele (hawaiian music ensemble) events will be truly missed! We wish Roy and her family peace and much aloha.
Kainani Hartnett
December 2, 2018
I never met her in person but read her post almost daily. Learnt a lot. Great fan of her HAES movement. Shocking news! Will miss her a lot. wish her eternal peace.
December 2, 2018
This is sad news indeed. Joanne was a pioneer for justice and a kind and loving person. She will be greatly missed. Condolences to her family.
Katherine Flegal
December 1, 2018
I met Joanne at my first ASDAH conference in San Francisco and she had a profound impact on me. My sympathies to her family and the HAES community. A giant was lost.
Sue Clarahan
December 1, 2018
My condolences to all family and friends of dear cousin Joanne.The loss of a loved one is never easy. May all the sweet memories of dear Joanne ease the pain at this most difficult time. Lifting loved ones up in prayer.
Eleanor Cory Gray (Mallick)
December 1, 2018
It looks like the symposium we were planning will have to go on without you. It will be dedicated to your memory.
Paul Ernsberger
December 1, 2018
I will forever honor the courage and integrity that it took for Joanne to challenge central tenets of her field, and to provide a critique and alternative path that grows stronger day by day.
Deb Burgard
December 1, 2018
Joanne, thank you for being part of the HAES foundation and growth, something that helped heal me and continues to help many others. Every day my clients benefit from your courage. You made the world better.
Rebecca Scritchfield
December 1, 2018
I am so sad about Joanne's passing. I had known her for years, and consider her a real pioneer in her endeavor!
Bill Fabrey
November 30, 2018
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Santos-Robinson Mortuary
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences