Members of the Japanese American Citizens League were saddened to learn of the passing on Jan. 24 of Lillian Yuriko Tateishi, mother of former JACL National Executive Director John Tateishi.

She passed away in Culver City from complications of a stroke, surrounded by three generations of her family.

Lillian Tateishi

Born in 1913 in Riverside, Tateishi was sent to live with her maternal grandparents in Japan when she was six years old. After her return to the U.S. in 1922, her family moved to Torrance and eventually to Lawndale. She married Sam Tateishi in 1934.

In 1940, the couple moved with their four boys to West Los Angeles, where they lived until the outbreak of World War II. They were incarcerated at the Manzanar detention center. They returned to West L.A. after the war ended and raised their family there.

Throughout her life, Tateishi was sustained by her Christian faith, especially during the difficult years at Manzanar and a year-long vigil at the bedside of her ailing husband. She was a devoted member of the West L.A. United Methodist Church and dedicated much of her life in service to the church.

Tateishi will be remembered as an exceptionally kind and gentle person who believed in the goodness of others and lived by the values of her culture and her strong Christian beliefs.

Preceded in death by her husband, she is survived by four sons, Toshi (Judith), Bob (Lilibeth), Bill (Sandy) and John (Carol); eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. at West L.A. United Methodist Church, 1913 Purdue Ave., Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers or koden, the family requests donations be made to the church in Tateishi’s memory.

JACL National Executive Director Floyd Mori and National President David Kawamoto said in a statement: “The JACL offers sincere condolences to John Tateishi and the complete Tateishi family on the passing of your wonderful mother and grandmother. We know she was an inspiration to you and to many others throughout her life. May you find comfort and peace in good memories of happy times together. We extend our deepest sympathy at this difficult time.”

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