The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001158003-01
Funeral Notices

TEIJI FRANK OKANO
Feb 1, 1920 – Dec 9, 2018

Teiji was a kind, fun-loving family man. After his wife, Reiko, passed a year ago, he still managed to enjoy Seattle Seahawk games; his desserts; his dog; the grand/great grandkids’ visits, and occasional beer, to which he attributed his long life.

The middle child of five, he grew up fishing in the Puget Sound – he even caught a (mud)shark once. At 16, he lied about his age so he could work at a salmon fishery one summer in Alaska, and was proud to earn enough to buy his own car.

While attending the University of Washington, Pearl Harbor was bombed. His parents and siblings were suddenly sent to the Minidoka Internment camp in Idaho. He was forced to leave UW, enlisted, and was sent to the Pacific as a linguist with the Military Intelligence Service. His father would die of cancer while interned.

At 26, he met Reiko while stationed in Tokyo, a beautiful Japanese girl of 23 and romance ensued. Americans, however, were discouraged from marrying the Japanese. After submitting a marriage request he was transferred back to California instead. He applied for a return post in Japan, but was unsuccessful and eventually honorably discharged. Teiji reenlisted hoping to be stationed in Japan, but with bad timing, he was deployed to the Korean War. Marriage was now allowed. From Korea, he asked his brother, George, stationed in Japan, to stand in for him, to finally marry Reiko. They were happily married for 70 years.

Married life in Japan was good with 3 children. Teiji worked for the Army and Air Force Exchange and taught Reiko to party with him at the military clubs- dancing, drinking and playing slot machines. On the weekend, when he wasn’t golfing, he was always looking for ways to have fun with his kids, fishing, fruit picking, or bowling. He took his family on vacations to the onsen, and many summers in Seattle to visit family.

In 1967, the US started closing the military bases in Japan. Teiji was reassigned to Fort Dix, New Jersey then to Shreveport, Louisiana. Those were tough times, with a wife who spoke no English and teenagers in tow. But he made sure to show them all the sights and National Parks along the way. Luckily he was transferred to Hawaii, the perfect compromise for the family, as Teiji always wanted to live in Seattle, and Reiko in Tokyo.

Teiji, with Reiko, played a major role in raising their granddaughters. They loved babysitting, frequenting playgrounds, driving them to after school activities, and eating shave ice. He would take the granddaughters to golf, but as he grew too old, the girls would take him to the driving range.

Teiji is remembered golfing, singing karaoke, growing flowers, drinking beer, and spending time with his friends and relatives. He enjoyed family vacations abroad and annual Las Vegas trips with Reiko and Cathy, until he was 92. He loved his dogs, outliving Crisco, then Popo, but Kooper was his best friend in the end.

Thank you, Dad, for your quiet guidance and for giving us such a good life.

Teiji is survived by Patrick (wife Tae Hee), Cathy, Joyce, granddaughters: Mariko (Kanoa), Remy (Luis), Kenna (Dalton), and great-grand- daughters: Riley, Aya, Hili, and another one on her way.