Rosalind K. Uno
Nov. 14, 1933 – July 18, 2023
Rosalind K. Uno, age 89, passed away on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 following a massive stroke. She had been living independently in the company of her cat, Bella. On the day before the stroke, she got her hair done, had visits with her neighbors and family, and ate her favorite bento box dinner, fully enjoying the simple pleasures of her life.
Rosalind Mitsuyo (Michan) was born on November 14, 1933 in San Francisco to Saburo and Mine Harada Kido. She had two younger brothers, Laurence (predeceased) and Wallace Kido. Her early life was spent in Berkeley until it was disrupted by the WWII exclusion of people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. Her family initially relocated inland to Visalia to a household with an outhouse rather than the in-door plumbing she was accustomed to, and rural life opposed to an urban environment.
The next destination was the WRA internment camp, Poston II located in Arizona, where she experienced a trauma that stayed with her for her lifetime. One night, her family was locked in their unit by six other internees opposed to the Japanese American Citizens League’s (JACL) pro-US government stance. Her father, the war-time president of the National JACL, was severely beaten with handmade ironwood clubs for 45 minutes while the family could only watch. Following the assault due to safety concerns for the family, they were moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. After the war, the family relocated to Los Angeles, where Rosalind completed high school.
In 1953, Rosalind married Edison Uno and had their first daughter, Elizabeth, while living in Los Angeles. After a few years, the family moved to San Francisco’s Nihonmachi neighborhood so that Edison could pursue law school. By the early 1960’s, the Uno family moved to the Richmond district and the family grew with the birth of their second daughter, Rosanne. While Edison left law school due to a heart attack and pursued administrative positions, Rosalind was a full-time homemaker and mother of that era. Elizabeth recalls her mother hanging laundry out in the backyard with Rosanne in the laundry cart, making grilled cheese sandwiches, and watching soap operas in the afternoon. While somewhat idyllic, Edison’s health condition was ever-present.
As the decade rolled out with the advent of the civil rights movement and as Edison became more politically active on many fronts, Rosalind also grew politically in her own style. She fed and supported student activists when they met in the Uno home. Later, in the 1980’s, Rosalind followed the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians and attended the Commission hearings when they came to San Francisco.
In 1976, Rosalind was widowed when Edison’s heart condition required surgery and he succumbed to complications. She faced many challenges including learning to drive, managing her finances, taking college courses, and increasing her work hours.
Rosalind’s life was enriched by her decades-long association with the Frank McCoppin Elementary School community. After being a parent volunteer on the school site committee, Rosalind officially became an employee of the San Francisco Unified School District. She worked at Frank McCoppin in many capacities: as a paraprofessional in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, in a transitional first grade class, in the kindergarten class, as a lunch monitor, an aide in the afterschool childcare program, and library aide. She continued to volunteer as a library aide up until the age of 86 when the pandemic closed school sites in 2020.
Rosalind made many close friends while working at Frank McCoppin, including other paras and teachers. “Mrs. Uno”, as she was known at McCoppin, made a lasting impression on generations of students. It was not unusual for adults, often with babies in strollers, to stop Rosalind in public spaces, to greet her and say, “I remember you from Frank McCoppin!”
Throughout her life, Rosalind was family oriented. When Rosanne moved to Hawaii, Rosalind went to Kona to help her after the births of her grandsons, Andrew and Jon Ehrenberg. She made annual trips to Kona to visit her daughter and grandsons. Rosalind had been looking forward to the first post-pandemic trip to Kona that was planned for just a few weeks after her passing. Rosalind also cared for her grandchildren, Jes and Karissa Tom, through their school years, taking them to swimming lessons and other activities, feeding them dinner and supervising homework. For many decades, Rosalind’s home has been the gathering place for family celebrations, big and small.
Rosalind enjoyed many varied interests during her life. She was an avid reader, and when her daughters were in school she often read the assigned books from their English classes. She enjoyed Agatha Christie mysteries, books featuring cats and dogs as main characters, in addition to more serious literature. Rosalind expressed her interest in Japanese culture and traditions in many ways. She maintained a lush garden that included a flowering cherry tree, crab apple tree, and Japanese maples. She took Ikebana classes for many years, and devoted much time to watching Japanese travel and cultural documentaries on NHK. She also continued her mother’s tradition of celebrating the New Year with traditional Japanese dishes with a slight American twist to include potato salad, spare ribs, and honey glazed ham, shared with many family members and friends over the years.
Rosalind was an avid sports fan. As a “49er Faithful”, she hosted 49ers watch parties for family and friends for many seasons, and she continued to cheer for them throughout the pandemic period. She was also very invested in the Golden State Warriors, which brought back memories of her own experience playing high school basketball with her team, the Vandas. Since 2020, Rosalind missed volunteering at Frank McCoppin and instead occupied her time working on jigsaw puzzles, baking cookies, and watching hundreds of home renovations on HGTV.
Rosalind was the matriarch of her extended family, and central to a vast network of friends and neighbors. She will be remembered for her formidably strong will as much as for her generosity and care for others. Her family will miss her dry humor and her love for a good dessert, and are grateful that Rosalind was able to live actively and independently to the very end.
Rosalind is survived by her youngest brother, Wallace Kido (Terry Glazier), nephew, Michael Kido (Noriko Sato), daughters, Elizabeth (Gene Tom) and Rosanne, and grandchildren Jes and Karissa Tom and Andrew and Jon Ehrenberg and close cousin, Kimi Klein (Joel). She will be missed by many Uno, Harada, and Kido relatives.
A memorial celebration will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2023 at 12:30 pm at Rosalind’s home. The family intends to establish a fund for the Frank McCoppin Library in Rosalind’s memory. Contributions can be sent to Elizabeth Uno at 515 Ninth Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118.