Lois Tomoko Toyama
April 21, 1924 – December 31, 2020
Lois Tomoko Toyama passed away peacefully at the age of 96. Lois was born in Cortez, California on April 21, 1924 to Masui and Tome Kawamura. She and her six siblings spent their early years working on the family farm. When World War II started, her family was incarcerated at the Turlock Assembly Center, where Lois was given her Modesto High School diploma by her principal, and later at the Amache internment camp in Colorado. After the war, Lois returned to California and attended Reedley College, but then moved to Chicago where she enrolled at the Baptist Missionary Training School (now part of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School). While living in Chicago, Lois met and married Saburo “Zip” Toyama. They came back to California in 1953 and settled in East Los Angeles where they raised their four sons Tim, Norm, Nate,
Lois worked for the LA Unified School District, serving as a children’s center teacher for over 20 years. In her retirement, she traveled with husband Zip around the world, took care of her grandchildren, and tirelessly supported her son Tim’s movie projects. One of her most memorable moments was attending the Academy Awards in 1998 to see Tim’s film, “Visas and Virtue,” awarded an Oscar for best live action short film.
Lois especially enjoyed hosting the family’s annual July 4th and Thanksgiving gatherings. As the family grew larger and multicultural, it was not unusual to have sushi with carnitas, persimmon salad, fried chicken, manju, and vegetarian Chinese dishes on the menu!
Lois’s Christian faith was a source of her positive outlook on life. She and Zip were active members of Mission Valley Free Methodist Church. Even as she approached the end of her life, Lois kept up with the Daily Devotions – the large type version.
Lois is preceded in death by her parents Masui and Tome, husband Saburo, son Norman, and siblings Seichi Otow, Peter Makoto “Mac” Kawamura, Yuki Omi, Elsa Okuda, Joy Asami, and Ruth Shinobi Matsuno. She is survived by her sons Timothy (Naomi Yoshida), Nathan (Carol Wilbanks), Titus (Donna Komure); daughter-in-law Blanca (Olguin); her six grandchildren Vanessa, Aaron, Elizabeth, Lucinda, Megan, and Kaitlin; and many nieces and nephews. Due to the COVID pandemic, a memorial will be held at a later date.
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