Laura Takeuchi, longtime JASEB executive director, dies

Laura Takeuchi, the former longtime executive director of Japanese American Services of the East Bay, passed away after a short bout with cancer on Aug. 1, 2013. She was 58.

Born in San Francisco, Takeuchi was raised in Walnut Creek, Calif., where she was a competitive swimmer and skier.

Takeuchi volunteered with a number of community-based organizations, including the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Alameda County Meals on Wheels, Kokoro Assisted Living, Diablo Japanese American Club and the Berkeley chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

Takeuchi “left behind a legacy of community involvement, social programs and senior services,” said a statement from J-Sei, formerly known as Japanese American Services of the East Bay. Takeuchi served as its executive director for 16 years from 1992 to 2008.

“Ms. Takeuchi had a critical impact on the agency and the thousands of families that used J-Sei’s programs,” the statement continued. “Under her leadership, she ensured that J-Sei would provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care for older adults. The range of services that thrived during her interim included senior housing, a home delivered nutrition program, a senior center and case management. These services still provide help to families and enabled the older adult to live in the community with higher levels of well-being.”

“As I retrace the steps that Laura must have taken through the J-Sei office … I realize how much energy and work Laura has put into this agency,” stated Diane Wong, J-Sei’s current executive director.

“Laura was a very hard working executive director who took on many duties that she did not have to take upon herself. We are all thankful for all of the help she gave the agency and families,” said Richard Sekiguchi, past J-Sei board member.

Takeuchi is survived by her partner of three decades, Stephen Higashi of Walnut Creek, Calif.

Friends and family are invited to a “Celebration of Life” memorial service on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 3 p.m., at the Diablo Japanese American Club, 3165 Treat Blvd., Concord, Calif. The family requests no flowers.

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