Wayne Yoshito Osaki
Wayne Yoshito Osaki

OSAKI, WAYNE YOSHITO, 91, passed away peacefully on April 13, 2015 surrounded by his loving wife and family, one day after his 57th wedding anniversary.

Wayne was born in Clarksburg, along the Delta near Sacramento, Calif. His father, Isao Osaki immigrated to America in 1903 from Shimane Prefecture in Japan and his mother Tomi (Matsuura) came in 1909 from Wakayama Prefecture. He was proud of his Osaki family ancestry, which dates back to 1177 A.D., his great grandfather was the Chief Advisor to the Lord of Tsuwano Castle.

His parents taught at the Holland Union Japanese School in Clarksburg until 1942. He and his family were interned in Tule Lake Concentration Camp.

He was released in early 1946 and attended City College of San Francisco while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. In 1948, he enrolled in the School of Architecture at UC Berkeley, while working as a farm laborer in the summers to pay for his tuition. There he became a lifelong CAL Bears fan, in the past few years, he wore his CAL cap everyday, even during his many hospital stays.

In 1951, he began his career as an architect in San Francisco. He designed many stores, apartments and schools, but his true love was designing churches. Throughout his career he designed 69 churches, including the Allen Temple Baptist Church, the prominent African American church located in Oakland, as well as Jerusalem Baptist Church and Aldersgate Methodist Church in Palo Alto. His designs also include the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California and the Japanese Community Youth Council located in San Francisco’s Japantown.

In the 1950s-70s, he challenged the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), which forced out many of the businesses and residences out of Japantown and the
Western Addition. He was a founding member of the Western Addition Community Organizations (WACO), a committee of Japanese and African Americans who actively opposed the RDA. In an effort to help rebuild Japantown he designed many of the businesses and apartments along Sutter Street and the Buchanan Mall.

Wayne attended Christ United Presbyterian Church located in Japantown and designed the new church in 1975. The church was one of the most important aspects of his life for over 50 years, having served in various leadership positions.

In his retirement he wrote many short stories about his life before and during camp as well as the critically acclaimed children’s book, “My Dog Teny.”which was about his dog and having to leave it behind before leaving for Tule Lake. He was known for his gentle smile, kindness and how nice and courteous he was to everyone he met.  His proudest legacy is the continuing involvement of his sons in the Japanese community in San Francisco.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years Sally, his four sons: Glenn, Paul, Dean (Diane), and Jon (Julie) and three grandchildren, Shannon, Mika, Lee and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded by his mother (Tomi), father (Isao), brother (Tetsuo), and sister (Ayako Nakao).

A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on Sunday, May 3 at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, Japanese Community Youth Council and Christ United Presbyterian Church.

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