Masashi “Sid” Okazaki
July 17, 1925 — February 18, 2021
Masashi “Sid” Okazaki was born on July 17, 1925 in Oakland, Calif. and passed away on February 18, 2021 at the age of 95 years old. Sid was the second of three children. He had a difficult early childhood due to a leg condition, which caused him great pain throughout most of his life.
In 1939, Sid’s parents moved to Santa Maria, Calif. to manage a produce shipping business, where the children attended school. In February 1942, Sid became the man of the house as his father was unknowingly jailed at Tuna Canyon Detention Station. Not knowing where their father was, Sid’s family was forcibly sent first to Gila River War Relocation Center, and finally reunited with their father in Texas at the Crystal City Detention Facility. Sid’s family endured 3 years there, before being repatriated to Okayama, Japan in 1945. Sid left for Tokyo to find work with just his clothes and a bag of rice. Luckily, he met a fellow Crystal City internee that helped him get a job translating Japanese for the Occupying U.S. Armed Forces.
Sid returned to California and graduated from UC “Go Bears” Berkeley in 1952. While living in San Francisco, Sid met Yukie Nii through a mutual friend. Sid and Yukie married in 1960, and moved to San Gabriel, Calif. They raised two children, and lived happily together for nearly 60 years. Sid was employed as a Los Angeles County Public Health statistician and retired after 30-plus years. During his retirement, he volunteered at the Japanese American National Museum as a “greeter” and engaged visitors with his first-hand accounts of “Camp” life.
Sid is remembered for supporting his children and grandchildren in all their activities, his love of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Cubs, for yelling at the TV as an armchair coach, and his teasing good nature.
Predeceased by his wife, Yukie Nii Okazaki; his parents, Ichimaru Okazaki and Hamako Maibara Okazaki; brother, Terumi “Tee” Okazaki; sister-in-law, Yoko Okazaki and brother-in-law, Jordan Hiratzka. Sid leaves behind his children, Ken (Zeena Lee) Okazaki, Julie (Rob) Komoto; grandchildren, Kasey, Kyle, and Alan; his sister, Maru Hiratzka and many in-laws, nieces and nephews.
A private family service was held on April 24, 2021 at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, Calif., with Rev. Richard Kuyama officiating. The family wishes to express their deep appreciation and sincere gratitude for all the kind expressions of sympathy. In lieu of koden, please send donations to the Japanese American National Museum, in memory of Masashi “Sid” Okazaki.