Barbara Fumiko Kobayashi

Sept. 1, 1937 – June 7, 2024

KOBAYASHI, BARBARA, who was affectionately known as Miko in her family, was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the Crenshaw neighborhood. She was the third daughter of Sadao and Chiyeko Nishioka. She had two older sisters, Lillian (Suds) and Frances (Sako) and one younger brother, Kenny. When she was four years old, she was sent with her family to the Japanese Internment Camp in Poston, Arizona during World War II.

She attended Dorsey High School and went on to U.C.L.A. where she graduated with a Bachelor in Science in Clinical Laboratory Science. She was the first in her family to graduate from college. This was the beginning of a long and rewarding career in clinical laboratory sciences. She moved to San Francisco and started her first job as a laboratory technologist and then advanced into laboratory management.

She worked for clinical laboratories that included Reference Lab, Unilab and Quest. She was proud of the many technologists she trained and mentored who became successful and who remained friends throughout her life. She later earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from San Francisco State University.

Barbara married H. John Kobayashi in 1961, and they had two children, Lisa and Doug. Barbara was a supportive and enthusiastic mom who encouraged her children to excel in school as well as in their competitive swimming and music activities. She was an active parent on her childrens’ swim teams and volunteered to be a timer during swim races. She was excited to attend all their piano and clarinet recitals at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Barbara was passionate about being a good steward of nature and was active in the ecological restoration community. By working with her neighbors and contacting various city officials, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, she helped transform the sandy lot on 12th and Pacheco near her home into a beautiful native plant garden that attracts and preserves the green hairstreak butterfly. She was an active member of Nature in the City and a steward of the 12th and Pacheco Green Hairstreak Butterfly Corridor.

A true supporter of the S.F. Giants, she listened daily to all the baseball games on the radio and knew all the player’s names. She was a fan of the 49ers and watched all their games on TV. She listened to all the talk shows about both teams each day. She also enjoyed listening to John Lennon and Beatles music.

A musician and adventurer, Barbara was always learning and moving! She took piano lessons for over 30 years, played in the guitar GIG group at Christ United Presbyterian Church where she was an active member, attended piano jazz concerts, went on a bike trip in Oregon, traveled to Galapagos Island, Bimini Island, went river rafting and camping overnight on the American River, zip lined in Alaska, learned how to scuba dive, went parasailing in Mexico and swam in the bay. There was no limit to her adventuresome and free spirit!

Along with her free spirit, Kiku, her beloved adopted dog, became part of her life. She would bring Kiku on our family trips to Lake Tahoe and Big Bear, and she would drive Kiku to Los Angeles to visit her family. Barbara and Kiku could be seen walking in her neighborhood, Sigmund Stern Grove and Fort Funston. They were inseparable until Kiku passed away in 2018.

Barbara will be greatly missed. Her spirit will stay in our hearts forever. She is survived by her daughter Lisa (Laron), son Doug, grandson Nathan, granddaughter Marissa, brother Kenny, nephew Mark, nieces Lorraine, Cathy, Bonnie, Denise and their families.

A memorial service to honor Barbara’s life will be held on Sunday, September 1, 2024 at Christ United Presbyterian Church in San Francisco on 1700 Sutter Street at 1:00 p.m. A reception and light refreshments will follow. In place of flowers or gifts, please consider making a donation to Christ United Presbyterian Church or Nature in the City.

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