September 29, 1929 — November 4, 2023
Our mother, Reiko Koyama, a long-time resident of Los Angeles County, passed away on November 4, 2023, at Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center. She was 94.
She was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1929, just before the world plummeted into the turmoil that brought about World War II. She was part of the generation of Japanese women who survived the horrors of that war and who would go on to defy cultural norms by striking out on their own and leaving the confines of long traditions. With her feistiness and pluck, she thrived. She married an American serviceman (Navy) and moved to the United States in 1957. She was vibrant, outgoing, a survivor, and never ever soft-spoken or indirect. She was a master of speaking her mind, often to the surprise and sometimes, the shock, of others. Over the decades, she became an icon of friendliness sparked by laugh-out-loud humor wherever she went.
She worked at General Dynamics and Xerox Corporation and was the site supervisor at Seinan Senior Citizens Center in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years. One of her favorite pastimes was going to the casino (her Happy Place) and playing the slots. Another favorite and more notable past-time was performing karaoke, where she won many contests, never shied away from a performance and received many accolades from those who were fortunate to hear her. We’re not sure which pastime she loved more. She was a lifelong member of Soka Gakkai International and a recipient of its Pioneer Member Award.
She is survived by her five children: daughters, Alice Branch-Young of El Dorado Hills, CA, Juri Dillon of Rancho Cordova, CA, Midori Branch of Albuquerque, NM; and sons, Joseph Branch of Henderson, NV, and Robert Branch of Colorado Springs, CO; as well as 14 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren, all of whom will miss her.
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