1930 – 2018
Atsuko Kawaratani died gently on Sept 20, in hospice care at her home in Montebello.
She was born in Dairen, Manchuria, 1930, during the Japanese occupation, the only surviving daughter of Masakazu Furuya and Tei Kamezawa. Her father died early, so she was raised by her strict single mother.
She attended a Maryknoll missionary school there. The War forced their escape to Yokohama, Japan. Then, on a full 4 year scholarship, she earned a Bachelor in Nursing degree at Nazareth College and Burgess hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA .
In 1954, Atsuko, who was born in the year of the horse, married Tom, who was born in the year of the mouse. Even though the zodiac clearly states “A horse should never marry a rat !!”, they were married for 64 loving years.
She worked as a Registered Nurse with newborn intensive care babies, then later switched to being the Director of Nurses at the Minami Keiro Nursing Home for many satisfying years.
She enjoyed many family trips, which included picking strawberries and cherries, fishing and traveling. Her wide-ranging interests included earning teacher’s certificates in ikebana (flower arrangement), entering karaoke competitions, enjoying travels on educational tours with the Elder Hostels, and beading and upholstery classes. For twenty five years, she and Tom took lessons in International and American ballroom dancing plus latin dancing.
Atsuko is survived by her husband Tsutomu Tom Kawaratani, son Takeshi, 2 daughters Yumi (Takashi) Kushi and Sumi (Lee) Leong, and grandsons Ryan & Justin Kushi.
Her “Celebration of Life” was attended by close relatives and Tai Chi exercise club members.
Her final resting place is at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.