May 30, 1952 — March 17, 2021
Kiyoko Nishi (née Hayashi) passed away on March 17, 2021 from natural causes at her home in Pasadena, Calif.
Kiyoko was born on May 30, 1952 in Asahi City, in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan. She lived in Chiba through her early adulthood. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Kitasato University in Tokyo, then went on to work as a laboratory technician at Nippon Kayaku for several years.
She moved to the United States in her early 20s to attend further schooling and pursue the American Dream. She loved American culture and learned English in school in Japan, and also by going to movies in the U.S., often multiple times.
She met her husband, George, while working as a waitress in a coffee shop in Los Angeles. He came in often and she thought he was a bad tipper, but he changed her mind with a generous Christmas card.
Kiyoko and George married in Lake Tahoe in June 1979. They had two children that they doted on. They bought a house in Monterey Park that they lived in until George’s passing in 2012.
During those happy years in Monterey Park, Kiyoko worked as the Recreational Activities Manager at South Bay Keiro Nursing Home. She enjoyed creating programs and organizing events that encouraged socialization for the senior residents. She cared immensely about the joy and fulfillment of the residents and knew everyone by name. She adored the staff and volunteers that she worked with, and came to life during their group lunches. She once wrote, “staff’s personalities are the most important in order to work happy.”
A couple years after George’s passing, Kiyoko moved to Pasadena and lived an independent life. She attended classes for fun, met new friends, read and wrote, volunteered, and attended church.
She found joy in ordinary moments. On a trip to Japan, the first time in over 30 years, she wrote to her daughter, “I am very interested in how ordinary people live everyday lives.” She reminded people to find happiness in their daily lives. She enjoyed talking to her friends and family. She enjoyed the simple act of sharing meals. She loved to sit in the sun and look out at the world.
Kiyoko was predeceased by her husband, George. She is survived by her son, Jason; daughter and son-in-law, Katherine and Jon; her sisters, Toshiko and Setsuko; and her niece and nephew, Maiko and Chikara.
A private viewing was held for her immediate family at Mountain View Mortuary in Pasadena. Her ashes will be scattered in Hawaii and reunited with her husband at a later date, to be scheduled.