Kazuko (Kay) Laurila

Yesterday we said our goodbyes to my dear grandma.

Below is the obituary my grandpa asked me to write. I spent some time with my aunts and cousins to also see what they wanted to include in this remembrance of grandma.

After we said goodbye, grandpa treated us all to lunch, and then we drove out to see my cousin on her farm (she was unable to attend the viewing and lunch). It was a very busy, moving, emotional day.


Kazuko (Kay) Laurila passed away in Indio, Calif., on January 12, 2014 after living a very full and enriching life. She was 89 years young and born in Tokyo, Japan on April 11, 1924, to Isamu and Haru Ohya. She is survived by her beloved husband Donald Laurila, her daughters Joan Mahoney and Cynthia Appolito, 6 grandchildren, and one great-grand child. She joins her only son, Jimmy, who passed away in 2009. Kay met her future husband in 1947. She was working as a cashier in the U.S. Army Tokyo Post Exchange and Don was in the U.S. Army Air Force as part of the occupation of Japan force. Don knew after a year he wanted to marry Kay and they married on December 5, 1950 in Tokyo. Kay enjoyed playing golf – she won seven golf championships at Camp Zama, Japan and at the Siam Country Club in Thailand. She was also a talented triple-jumper. She was competing for a spot on the 1940 Japanese Olympic track and field team, but the Olympics were canceled because of the outbreak of World War II. Kay was the best mother and grandmother anyone could have asked for. She was caring, loving, talented, cultured, intelligent, wise, beautiful and athletic. She showed her love through her cooking, her sewing, and her artistic appreciation for Asian art and cuisine. She taught everyone she met many things. She lovingly called her grandchildren “chan” or “kun” after their names, a Japanese form of endearment to a younger person. Kay will be cremated at Fitzhenry-Wiefels Cremation and Burial Service. Her family honored her at a private viewing on January 16th to say goodbye to our dear wife, (Mama-chan), Mom (Oka-san) and Grandma (Oba-chan). Kay will be buried in the Monterey Cemetery in Monterey, California.

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One response to “Kazuko (Kay) Laurila

  1. Pingback: Tuesday Tidbits – 65 | Bee in DC

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