Taeko Joanne Ono Iritani
Taeko Joanne Ono Iritani

IRITANI, TAEKO JOANNE ONO, 85, born Sept. 21, 1929 in Bakersfield to Japanese immigrants, died at home March 19, 2015 in Sacramento after a stroke. Joanne lived in Bakersfield most of her life. At age 12 she was forcibly moved with her family and all other Kern residents with Japanese ancestry, “alien and non-alien,” to Poston Relocation Center in Arizona by the US government. From May 1942 until World War II ended in August 1945 they lived behind barbed wire and under armed guard with 17,814 others.

She received degrees from Bakersfield Junior College, UC Berkeley, and CSU, Bakersfield. She was a special education teacher for nearly 30 years. Joanne married Frank Iritani in 1956. They raised three children in Bakersfield and retired to Sacramento.

Joanne and Frank were leaders in the Japanese American community. They published Ten Visits, a manual on how to find the often obscure sites of the 10 internment camps. Joanne was selected to represent the people who were interned at Poston Camp at the groundbreaking, in Washington, DC, of the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II. Over the last 23 years she helped develop and led scores of Florin JACL “Time of Remembrance” programs educating 5th grade students about the internment, the importance of civil rights and the US Constitution.

She spoke around the country. She collected oral histories of people affected by those events for the Japanese American Archive Collection at CSU Sacramento. Joanne was a leader in Ikebana International, Sacramento, the Japanese American Women Alumni of UC Berkeley, the United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women and her local church, Centennial United Methodist Church. She had previously been a member of Bay area churches including Berkeley United Methodist Church.

Joanne is survived by her children, Susanna Iritani Minard and Richard Minard, Jr., Bow, NH; Ken Iritani and Lesley Iritani, Sacramento; and Bonita Iritani and Jon Hussey, Chapel Hill, NC, brothers Joe Ono, Hilo, HI, and Tak Ono, Bakersfield, and grandchildren: Alden Minard, Daniel Iritani, Kevin Iritani, Jacob Iritani, Marisa Iritani and Alex Hussey. She was predeceased by her husband, Frank, a brother, Yoneo Ono, and a sister, Tomi Monji.

Services were held April 11 in Sacramento, CA. Memorial donations may be made to: Centennial UMC, 5401 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822; Florin JACL Scholarship Fund, PO Box 292634, Sacramento, CA 95829-2634; or the Iritani Scholarship Fund, Centennial UMC, 5401 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822

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