Tomoki “Tom” Nakayama, Los Angeles-born resident of Gardena, passed away peacefully at home on January 15, 2022 at the age of 82. Tomoki was an educator who dedicated himself to motivating young people to work toward and achieve their full potential. One of his students followed Tom’s lead to UCLA and became a football All-American, then played in the NFL. That player’s nomination resulted in Tomoki’s being recognized on national TV as the NFL Educator of the Month. Following his time at UCLA, Tomoki was an avid Bruin, working on the sidelines for every home game for more than fifty years.
He was preceded in death by his stepdaughter, Patricia McCurn, and is survived by his stepdaughter, Mary (Nick) Theus; grandsons, Norris Billups, Kristoffer Theus, Blake Milton; granddaughters, Brandi Theus, Tiana Wells; brothers, Takeshi (Pat) Nakayama and Makoto (Lily) Nakayama; sisters, Yoshiko (Wallace) Fong, Kikuko Nakayama and Michiyo Nakayama; nephew, Greg (Melba) Fong; nieces, Michelle (Rick) Parent, Cindy Fong (Merv De Guzman), Mitzi (David) Yamashita, Kelli Nakayama (Jay Yamakawa) and Whitney Nakayama; and 10 great-grandchildren. In consideration of the pandemic situation, a family celebration of Tomoki’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers or koden, the family asks that you consider a donation to your favorite charity.
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