Michiko Toyooka, Née Sakakibara
Michiko passed away peacefully in her home on February 24, 2019,
surrounded by loving family. She was the daughter of Daijiro and Shizu
Sakakibara, and is survived by her husband, Yoshiharu, her three
children, Takashi, Kenji (Sabra) and Kimiko (Nathaniel), and her four
grandchildren, Taro, Hana, and twins Tai-Ko and Syrus.
Michiko was born in wartime Korea in 1941 and grew up in Japan as the
second youngest in a family of seven children. She studied graphic
design and worked for an engineering firm but she always had an
adventurous spirit. In 1969 she embarked on the adventure of a lifetime,
moving to North America to join Yoshi, who had traveled Europe for 2
years before settling in Canada.
Raising their family in Ottawa, Michiko's love of culture, history and
art remained strong. She worked as a graphic designer and an
English/Japanese translator, and was an important part of the Ottawa
Japanese community, teaching Japanese to children and producing
Japanese-language newsletters. Michiko loved art galleries, theatre,
movies, books, and was a painter herself. She also loved fine foods and
eating out, and was a wonderful cook. She continued to travel throughout
her life, visiting Japan regularly - including a final trip with Yoshi,
her children and her grandchildren to see family and friends back home
in September 2018 - and she traveled throughout Canada, Europe, the US
and the Caribbean, with her family and on her own.
Quiet and unimposing, Michiko was occasionally mistaken for being timid
but in reality she was a supremely independent, determined and practical
woman whose strength was evident in her dignified, graceful manner of
being. Those closest to her loved her irreverent, sometimes dark sense
of humour, her quirky, creative spirit, her quick, curious mind, and her
open, non-judgmental heart. A tireless worker, a nurturing mother, a
loving wife and family member, and an active part of her community,
Michiko was a rock of strength for those around her.
A truly humble person, Michiko's contributions were largely made behind
the scenes, but her bravery, strength and generous spirit impacted all
those closest to her and we are eternally grateful for it. She was - and
continues to be - deeply loved and respected by her family and friends,
and will be most dearly missed.
Donations can be made in her honour to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Canadian Cancer Society