January 1940 — February 5, 2022

Shizuko Kaneko passed away peacefully and comfortably in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at age 82 to join her husband, Masamitsu, and her oldest son, Jon. She was an Oxnard resident for 30 years and helped run Kaneko Landscaping; first with her husband, then with her son. Prior to Oxnard, the family called Santa Maria home, where Shizuko worked various jobs from making floral bouquets at a flower grower to a private house cleaner but was always an involved mother/homemaker. In 2013, Shizuko moved to the city of Orange with Masamitsu and then later to Laguna Hills after her husband’s passing.

Shizuko was born in January 1940 in the region called Manchuria (now China) during the early days of war. Because her father, Teiji, was a soldier, her mother (Toshi) and siblings were expatriated from Japan. After WWII ended, the family returned to Japan and Shizuko completed her schooling then attended finishing school to learn skills like sewing, knitting, cooking, household finances, and child rearing. When she turned 21, she entered an arranged union with Masamitsu, a 30-year-old who lived in the southern part of Japan. They were married on October 4, 1961, and they settled in Kagoshima. After their oldest daughter was born, Masamitsu became intrigued with the thought of moving to the U.S. He wanted to grow acres and acres of vegetables and work the land with his hands so in 1965, he began the process that would forever change their lives.

In 1966, the family migrated to Santa Maria, and Masamitsu began to work at Minami Farms. Shizuko bore four more children (3 sons and 1 daughter) and although the challenges of coming to a foreign country were daunting, she persevered. She taught herself English, learned how to drive and how to navigate the complexities of being an immigrant in America. She insisted that her children attend Japanese language school every Saturday over the vociferous protests of “it’s not fair!” She scrimped and saved so her children could attend college and become successful adults. Shizuko was a tireless supporter of the Guadalupe and Oxnard Buddhist Temples, helping at every fundraising event and serving on the Women’s Association board at both churches. She enjoyed shigin (chanted poetry), Japanese calligraphy, bus tours to national monuments, and seeing her family, especially the grandchildren. She and Masamitsu were married for 56 years, in that time lived in two countries, six different cities, eight houses, and made countless friends.

She leaves behind a legacy of hard work and tenacity in her surviving family: Gwyn (Ted Fuller) with grandchildren, Kati, Christo (Robin) and great-granddaughters, Kailey, Olivia and Rosalie; Sandy and grandson, Jakob; Randy (Carolyn) and grandson, Patrick; and Kevin (Mandy) with grandchildren, Nicholas, Mia and Samantha. Shizuko has two surviving sisters and a brother in Japan along with nephews, nieces, cousins and extended family.

Her family will hold a private memorial service and will have her interred at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, Calif. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to Memorial Care Hospice at Saddleback Hospital for their dedicated care in her final days. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to have you consider donating to either the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or to the Oxnard Buddhist Temple (www.oxnardbuddhisttemple.org) in Shizuko’s memory. Cards may be sent to the family c/o Gwyn Kanekofuller, 13851 Seagate Drive, San Leandro, CA 94577.

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