Rose Osaki was born in a farmhouse in Talbert, Calif. Her father, Kyutaro Ishii, had settled there in 1906, married Sada Nakamura in 1912 and then raised a family there. They had 5 children: Joe, Chuck, Nellie, Don and Rose. When born, she quickly became the little “rose” of her grandfather’s life. She loved her place in a family where her siblings took turns making sure she was ok. A happy child, she talked a lot about how life then was without worry.
Growing up, she lived through the Great Depression, the Long Beach earthquake and when WWII broke out, she and her family were evacuated to the Japanese Interment camp in Poston, Arizona. In late 1943, her family was allowed to move to Colorado and there, she graduated from Gil High School as Valedictorian. She also met her great love, Kenneth Osaki. I remember my dad saying ‘I always knew she was madly in love with me.” When asked, how did he know? He said, “It’s because I was so good looking.” They married on April 26, 1947 and settled in Greeley where they had two kids, Linda S. Osaki (1948) and Kerry G. Osaki (1953). They lived in a close-knit Japanese community. They helped each other during harvest and the terrible winter of 1949, attended church, played cards, baseball and bowled. But by the mid-50’s, the inability to make a living as a small farmer started an exodus to other states. In 1957, Rose and Ken moved the family to California eventually settling in Fountain Valley. They quickly became involved in the LA-OC Nisei life (bowling, church) and by 1969, Rose was working at the Kono Hawaii Restaurant in their accounting department. As her role expanded to general manager, Rose blossomed into this gracious, outgoing and extroverted personality that none of us had ever seen before. In 1986, Kono Hawaii closed down and Rose started working part time at Union Bank. With the extra time, she traveled with Ken and her friends to various Indian casinos, Las Vegas, Hawaii and to an endless number of bowling tournaments all over the country. Those were fun years for her. When they were not traveling, this group of 15-20 women would eat, eat and eat at some new restaurant. This period also marked the arrival of her four (4) grandchildren, Christopher and Kelly Clapp, and then Meaghan and Kevin Osaki, who allowed Rose to enjoy a new role as grandma (and later Great Grandma for Ethan and Damian) where she perplexed them with her penchant to refer to people as “you know, Hoshiko” when she could not remember a name.
The last few years were hard ones as she lost many of her family and friends, and her health declined dramatically. It was during the pandemic that she contracted Covid-19 and passed away on September 6, 2020 at the age of 93. A private service was held on October 14, 2020. To see a picture video and personal history, please see her web page on the Fukui Mortuary website at www.fukuimortuary.com