August 2, 1950 – July 2, 2022
Joie Toyotome Meiko, 71, passed away on July 2, 2022, at her home in Capistrano Beach, Calif. Joie (born Joy Meiko Toyotome) was the eldest of 4 children raised by Dr. Masumi and May Kokubun Toyotome. She was born in New York City on August 2, 1950, but lived most of her life in California. During her early years, she was known and awarded for her outstanding academic and physical achievements. She was educated during her primary school years, at a private Christian elementary school in Tokyo, Japan. When her family returned to Southern California in 1958, she began attending Los Angeles public schools and graduated from Hollywood High School in 1968. After high school, she moved to the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. She attended San Francisco State College, Merritt Community College in Oakland, then finished her 4-year B.S. degree at UC Berkeley. During these years, she was briefly married to Gary Harbour of Oakland, Calif. She had a 20-year career as a medical technician, working in hospital laboratories as well as commercial laboratories. She relocated to Capistrano Beach in 2000, and was married to John (Jack) Burke for several years. When her husband passed away due to cancer in 2010, Joie continued to live in her house alone.
She was fiercely independent all her life, right to the very end. In recent years, she had several medical issues including two serious surgeries to address spinal stenosis, remove her gall bladder, and replace one of her hips. The Orange County Coroner is awaiting results from several tests to determine cause and specific time of death. Her body was discovered by an Amazon delivery driver, who notified the Orange County Sheriff when he found her lying on the concrete patio just outside her front door on July 2.
Joie requested that she be cremated and that no public service be held. Cremation and interment of her remains will be a private family matter. Joie is survived by her sister, Faith Toyotome Chapel of San Clemente, Calif.; brothers, Dr. Alphos Nobusumi Toyotome of Riverside, Calif. and Philip Kasumi Toyotome of Indiana; and 7 nieces and nephews.