May Masako Arakaki
May 11, 1942 – July 3, 2020
Seventy-eight years after May Masako Arakaki was born to Frank and Haruko Inafuku, she unexpectedly passed away in her Montebello home of natural causes on July 3, 2020. May was born on May 11, 1942 at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, and soon afterwards, was sent to the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center in Arkansas where she was interned along with her family. After the conclusion of World War II, her family returned to Los Angeles and settled in Boyle Heights. As the eldest of three children to working parents, May took on various child-rearing responsibilities of her brother Paul and sister Frances at an early age. The three siblings remained close, regularly getting together for lunch and family outings.
May received her primary education from Maryknoll School in Little Tokyo until 1956, where she was a proud member of the Maryknoll All Girls Drum and Bugle Corps. She graduated from Sacred Heart of Mary High School and received both her Bachelor of Arts in History and Masters of Arts in Education from the California State University, Los Angeles. She spent most of her accomplished career as an Administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 40 years where she had a reputation of being one of the three dragons … always in a hurry, but always generous and thoughtful with her actions. May loved her time serving the all the children and families in Los Angeles, spending most of her time at Beethoven, 4th Street, Logan Street and Hoover Street Elementary Schools. After her retirement, she continued to serve the district and enjoyed trying new duties. Throughout her career and up until her passing, she took great joy serving for the Alliance of Asian Pacific Administrators, as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and as a coordinator for various other functions and causes.
When she was not helping others, she enjoyed watching all sports and spending time at Staples Center rooting for Kobe and the Lakers. Moreover, she loved seeking royal flushes playing video poker at the casinos with her friends and family. The odds of hitting a royal flush in video poker are roughly 1 in 650,000 and to her many friends, family members and people who she helped, being an acquaintance of May was like hitting a video poker jackpot as she was the ultimate royal flush. Along with her handwriting, May was a perfect 10 when it came to her generosity. She was a Jack of all trades, Queen of all our hearts and a King of organizing numerous pools, vacations, family outings and tournaments. Most importantly, she was an Ace mentor, friend, sister, aunt and mom.
She was predeceased by husband, Alvin Arakaki; and is survived by daughter, Akemi Arakaki (Takao Suzuki); brother, Paul Inafuku; sister, Frances Inafuku; sister-in-law, Esther Taira, brother-in-law, Clifford Arakaki (Takako); nephew, Eric Inafuku (Rebeca Molina); and her countless nieces, nephews and cousins from her extended family.
The family will have a private burial at Rose Hills Memorial Park and are planning a Celebration of Life in 2021. In lieu of flowers or koden, the family requests any donations to be made in her honor to one of the following non-profit organizations:
Alliance of Asian Pacific Administrators: aapa-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com/
City of Hope: www.cityofhope.org/
Little Tokyo Service Center: www.ltsc.org/