Chieko Yokoe (横江千恵子)

Sept. 7, 1963 – Aug. 14, 2023

YOKOE, CHIEKO (横江千恵子) passed away in the company of friends at a hospice center in San Francisco. She had been battling an aggressive form of breast cancer for two and a half years. Up until the last few days of her life she was still planning upcoming meals and special occasions. She appeared very peaceful when she passed.

Chieko was born in Ami City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Her family settled in Shizuoka Prefecture, near the base of Mt. Fuji, where Chieko was an avid hiker and scaled the mountain five times. Ever since she was little, Chieko had a strong sense of independence and curiosity to explore and try a lot of things. She had pet rabbits and dogs growing up and her love of animals remained until she passed away. She worked as a surgical nurse in Tokyo. Then, she moved to the US to start a new life, settling eventually in San Francisco. She worked as a caregiver while getting a degree in Industrial Art at San Francisco State University, she continued studying art at San Francisco Institute of Art. Later, she got into ceramics and became prolific at it, making over one hundred Japanese dining plates and bowls. She would feature a lot of her pottery with her own culinary creations on Instagram and Facebook, becoming so popular that chefs would follow her.

Chieko was an office manager for Koyosha Graphics of America for over a decade.

After the 2007-2008 financial crisis, she returned to caregiving, eventually working for Kimochi in Japantown as a transitional care case manager. From time-to-time, blessed with a beautiful face, warm smile, and lithe figure, Chieko would also do some commercial print and video work as a model. She segued from modelling to being an independent buyer and seller of mostly women’s fashion on Buyma, a Japanese Web site.

Chieko got married and divorced. Then, one day she met someone in the elevator of her apartment building. That person would end up being her boyfriend and partner for nearly nineteen years until she passed away. The two had a great love for cuisine and travel and shared a lot of memorable meals and trips together. Her love and warmth will be missed as her companionship was very special. She touched almost everyone she met in a special way. She will always be remembered for being kind-hearted, loving, and gentle.

Chieko also had a passion for going to the Saturday Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building, often jarring, pickling and fermenting the organic produce that she bought. She would also take the unwanted produce (bruised or slightly disfigured) that the farmers would give away or heavily discount and make something out of it. She never let anything go to waste.

Chieko is survived by her partner Michael, sister Miyuki, niece Ayako, nephew Ken, niece Akari, Uncle Nobu, and Aunt Hiroko. A remembrance ceremony for Chieko, 49 days after she passed, was held at the Redwood Grove, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Golden Gate Park. A bench is also dedicated in her and her cat Daphne’s name in the Garden of California Native Plants of the San Francisco Botanical Garden; her favorite spot.

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