OBITUARY: Sachi Helen (Kawahara) Masaoka

Sachi Helen (Kawahara) Masaoka

MASAOKA, SACHI HELEN (KAWAHARA), 90, longtime resident of San Mateo, passed away in Los Angeles on April 6, 2018. She was the seventh of nine children born to Momotaro and Takeno Kawahara of Kawahara Nursery in San Lorenzo. Sachi was 14 years old when she and her family were interned during World War II at Tanforan and then at Topaz. After the war she went to Cal Berkeley where she met Tad Masaoka with whom she shared 49 happy years. As she often said, Tad was “one in a million,” and “he made me laugh every day.”

Tad and Sachi lived several years in Maryland while Tad worked for his brother, Mike Masaoka, and JACL while Sachi worked as a typist from home. They returned to California in 1963, where Tad went to work for Fair Housing and then HUD. With their three children growing up, Sachi went back to school to obtain a teaching credential. She taught many years at George Hall Elementary where she was a beloved kindergarten and fourth grade teacher and a valued colleague. For many years she was also an active member of Sturge Presbyterian Church.

Sachi is survived by her brother Harry Kawahara (Jane) of Altadena and Moko Hatamiya (Roy) of Yuba City, three children: Jan Masaoka (Paul Rosenstiel), Mark Masaoka (Kathy), and Miya Masaoka (George Lewis), her six grandchildren Mariko Drew, Mayumi Masaoka, Kimi Rosenstiel, Dan Masaoka, Keiko Cresante, and Tadashi Lewis. She also has three great-grandchildren: Dylan and Ethan Cresante, and Yuma Saetang, and dozens of nieces and nephews with whom she was always welcoming and generous in spirit.

She is predeceased by her husband, her parents, two brothers who died in childhood, her siblings Shizu Kariya (Mas), Harumi Peterkin, Isami Kawahara (Jean), and Chieko Lily Higashi (Hisashi).

Sachi was famous for her deep faith in God, the strength of her marriage with Tad, her love of babies and children, her endless energy, her puns and her angel food cake.

Services will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2:00 PM, at Sturge Presbyterian Church in San Mateo.

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