OBITUARY: Yasko Gamo

Gamo, Yasko, 89, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on New Year’s Day, the most sacred and important holiday in Japan.

Yasko was born in Tokyo, Japan to a family connected for many generations with traditional Japanese Noh Theater’s Hosho Company. She and her family survived the war in Tokyo where, soon after the war, she converted to Christianity and met her husband of 50 years at their church in Tokyo. In 1956, Yasko married Hideya Gamo, PhD. In 1958 Hideya was recruited by IBM as a research physicist and they immigrated to the United States with their daughter, Yuriko. They lived in Yorktown Heights in Westchester County, New York, where their second daughter Kay was born. They then moved to Rochester, NY where Hideya taught at the University of Rochester before becoming one of the founding professors in the School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine in 1968. Yasko completed her B.A. from U.C. Irvine and went on to teach Japanese at Orange Coast College for many years.

After retirement, the Gamos moved to Oakland in 2001 to be near their daughters and their grandson Niko.

After Hideya’s passing in 2006, Yasko moved to the Carlisle senior residence in San Francisco. At the Carlisle she enjoyed knitting, crafting, exercising, walking and playing mahjong with her friends. Yasko was impressively independent over the last ten years. She continued to explore San Francisco by public transportation, enjoying museums, the symphony and the diverse international cuisine. Yasko also continued her practice of Japanese calligraphy and her beloved practice of shimai dance of the Noh Theater with the Miyabikai organization. She was a devout member of Pine Methodist Church and connected with the Japanese American community through the church as well as other Japantown organizations.

Yasko will be remembered for her love of life, her intellectual curiosity and her joy in sharing all things Japanese with the world. She is survived by her daughters Kay Gamo, Yuriko Gamo Romer and her grandson Nikolas (Niko) Gamo Romer.

A memorial service for Yasko will be held at Pine Methodist Church, 426 33rd Avenue in San Francisco, on Saturday January 20th at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to Pine Methodist Church (426 33rd Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121) or to the Yasko Gamo Memorial Japanese Language Scholarship (to the Laurasian Institution with NPJ scholarship on the subject line, please mail checks to Yuriko Romer, 4235 25th Street, San Francisco CA 94114). Donations can also be dropped off at the service on Saturday.

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