Fumiye Toni Yamada passed away peacefully in the presence of her children and friends at her Kingsley Manor residence in Los Angeles on January 2, 2023.
Beloved mother of Seiko Diane Yamada and Akira Mark Yamada and sister of Judith Keiko Nakanishi and Ben Miyamoto, she is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Suyenori (Sy) Yamada, father, Masao Miyamoto, mother, Michiko Miyamoto, brother, Michael Miyamoto, and nephew, Brent Narasaki.
Fumiye Toni Yamada (Miyamoto) was born on August 18, 1934, in Fresno, Calif. The oldest of four siblings, she was extremely bright as well as headstrong. At an early age, she made it known that her preference was to be called by her middle name.
Toni’s childhood was spent in Selma, Calif., where her father had built a successful ranching business. When World War II erupted in 1941, the Miyamoto family was sent to the Gila River War Relocation Center in southern Arizona. She spent her formative pre-teen years there.
After the war, the Miyamoto family returned to California’s Central Valley in 1946. Toni attended Dinuba High School and after 2 years of community college, went on to the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social work.
Toni was introduced to Suyenori Yamada by mutual friends and they married on July 15,1961 after a short courtship. Together, they moved to Los Angeles and settled in the city’s Crenshaw area. After having two children, they relocated to the Los Feliz neighborhood around 1969. There, Toni and Sy found their community and forged friendships which would endure over time.
Seeking to raise well-rounded children, Toni played an active role in their schooling from early on while also encouraging their participation in the arts and sports. She supported the front office of Sy’s internal medicine practice at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and worked with the Los Angeles County Medical Auxiliary. Toni satisfied her passion for the arts by volunteering for the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena and taking ballet classes as often as she could. And following in the footsteps of her father, she enjoyed following the stock market and personal investing.
The activities that brought Toni the most joy were epicurean. She was happiest in the company of her neighborhood gourmet group, which included the Tahans, Mitchells and Daleys. Together, they enjoyed interesting food and wine at each others’ homes, local L.A. restaurants and more far-flung locations. They were perhaps the original foodies.
After Sy’s passing in 2013, Toni lived at their Nottingham home for several years but in 2018 moved to Kingsley Manor in Hollywood to receive better support for her advancing dementia. There, Toni was well cared for by experienced nurses and dedicated professional staff until she was transferred to hospice care on December 27, 2022. Her family appreciates the visits and sharing of memories by the close family and beloved friends who visited, called and wrote.
A private memorial service will be held for Fumiye Toni Yamada at Forest Lawn, Glendale on Friday, April 28, 2023. Her ashes will be interred beside those of her husband, Suyenori Yamada, in the Garden of the Ascension overlooking their beloved Los Feliz neighborhood.
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