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Obituary: OKAZAKI, CHIEKO

Published: Monday, Dec. 22 2014 11:03 a.m. MST

Chieko N. Okazaki "Aloha"

Chieko Nishimura Okazaki died on August 1, 2011, in Salt Lake City, of congestive heart failure. Born October 21, 1926, in Hawaii, she was the oldest of the four children of Kanenori and Hatsuko Nishimura. Chieko joined the LDS Church on April 6, 1942, and graduated from the University of Hawaii (1948) where she earned a degree in education. At the university, she met Edward Yukio Okazaki, a decorated World War II veteran, and they married on June 18, 1949. Ten months later, he was also baptized. His career was in social work, including perhaps the nation's first Council on Aging (Utah) and as regional director of Health, Education, and Welfare (Colorado). Chieko taught school on Maui (1948-51), in Utah (1951-66, 1971-77), and in Colorado (1971-77). She earned a master's degree in educational administration (1977) and administrator's degree (1978), then was a principal for ten years. When Florence Jacobsen, Young Women's general president, called Chieko to her general board (1961), Chieko became the first non-Caucasian, male or female, to serve on any of the Church's five general boards. She was also the first woman to serve on all three women's general boards: the Young Women (1961-66), Primary (December 1988-March 31, 1990), and Relief Society (first counselor, April 1990-1997). A dynamic speaker, Chieko published many of her addresses in ten books. Ed served as president of the newly organized Japan Okinawa Mission, headquartered in Kobe (August 1, 1968-July 31, 1971), and Chieko served as president of the mission auxiliaries. They had responsibility for the Mormon Pavilion at Expo '70, a world's fair, in Osaka, which was viewed by an estimated six million visitors. Chieko is survived by her sons: Kenneth A. (Kelle, and their son, Kenzo Edward); by Robert K. (Christine, and sons: Matthew, Andrew, and William); her brother Tsugio Nishimura, and her sister-in-law Pat Nishimura, the widow of Chieko's oldest brother, Hiro. Her husband, Ed, and brothers, Hiro and David, predeceased her. The funeral service will be Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS Holladay South Stake Center, 4917 S. Viewmont St. (2200 East), Holladay, Utah. Viewings will be Tuesday, August 9, 2011, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, and also prior to the funeral services from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Holladay South Stake Center. Burial will be at Mountain View Memorial Cemetery, 3115 Bengal Blvd (7800 South), Salt Lake City, Utah. In lieu of flowers, the family invites contributions to the Edward Yukio and Chieko Okazaki Room Fund at the College of Social Work, University of Utah, 395 South 1500 East #101, Salt Lake City, UT 84121; or online: http://tiny.utah.edu/okazaki.