OBITUARY: Yuriko Lily “Yuri” Torigoe

Yuriko Lily “Yuri” Torigoe

TORIGOE, YURIKO LILY “YURI”, 96, of San Jose, California, passed away peacefully at home on November 1, 2018. She was a piano teacher, church organist/pianist, and devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

She was born and raised in Alameda, California. Her parents were immigrants from Japan who ran a floral shop. She entered the University of California in Berkeley after high school but was forced to discontinue her studies because of the wartime relocation of Japanese Americans. She was held in an internment camp, but was granted release to attend the Colorado State College of Education (now the University of Northern Colorado), where she earned a B.A. degree and secondary school teaching credential. While living in Colorado, she met her husband-to-be, Setsuo Ernest (Ernie) Torigoe, who was practicing dentistry in Fort Lupton, Colorado due to the relocation. They married in 1945 and returned to California in 1947 with a 3-month-old child. They settled in San Jose, where they lived for the rest of their lives except for the period from 1951 to 1953 when Ernie served in the U. S. Air Force.

Yuri was a person of many talents. In addition to being mother of four children, she was a piano teacher, giving private lessons at her home for 36 years. She served as organist and pianist at Wesley United Methodist Church in San Jose for many years. Her community service included her contributions as President of the National Guild of Piano Teachers in San Jose and Lincoln Glen PTA President. After her children left home, she earned a Masters in Music at San Jose State University.

She was a skilled seamstress who made many articles of clothing for her family. She traveled widely, covering all fifty states and many international destinations. She kept detailed scrapbooks and photo albums of her family and travels. Other interests included social bridge, attending concerts, knitting, gardening, taking classes, reading, and collecting miniature pianos.

Yuri will be remembered for her many endearing qualities. She was very devoted to her family and approached her many endeavors with great enthusiasm. She was accomplished but most unassuming. She was very petite but had a big heart for others. At this time of remembrance, one of her many aphorisms that comes to mind is “good things come in small packages.”

Her husband of 70 years passed away in 2016. She leaves her children, Wayne (Karen), Kathy, Eric (Gayle), and Marilyn (Neil); grandchildren, Kendra (Enoch), Melanie, Keith, Sharon, Jeff, and Bryan; great-grandchildren, Kayla and Evan; and many other members of her extended family.

In accordance with her wishes, a private family memorial service will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church in San Jose. Donations in her memory to Wesley United Methodist Church or your favorite charity would be most appreciated.

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