NOGUCHI, Yoshiko 'Yosh' - Our dear, sweet Mom, Yosh, passed away peacefully in her sleep Tuesday August 4, 2020 at the age of 95.
Predeceased in 2006 by her beloved husband and our Dad, Shinkichi (Chuck), after 56 years of marriage.
Cherished mother and grandmother of Joy, George (Betty and son Kenneth), Denise (daughters Lisa and Sara), and Ken (Michelle).
Lovingly remembered by brother Shig Mitsuki (Mary, deceased), sister Sue Fujino (Mark, deceased), and in-laws Kuni Fukusaka (Ken, deceased), Ayao Noguchi (Gladys; Jean, deceased) and Seigo Noguchi (Inez), and many nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by Yukio and Kay Mitsuki, Fumi Mitsuki, Kiichi and Makiye Noguchi, and Yoshio and Kay Noguchi. Mom loved us all.
Mom was born in Vancouver in 1925, the 3rd of 5 children of Kotaro and Shige Mitsuki. After Mom’s father died in 1936 in a paper mill accident, her mother found work as a hotel housekeeper. Though only 11, Mom did what she could to help, looking after her younger siblings. When Mom was 16, the Japanese-Canadians were ordered to relocate to the BC Interior.
Her family moved to Slocan City where they lived in tents while cabins were being built in Lemon Creek, an old BC mining town. In Lemon Creek, Mom helped at the school for interned Japanese-Canadians, teaching Grades 7 and 8. After the war ended, Mom's family moved east as Japanese-Canadians were not allowed to return to Vancouver. They relocated to Fort William (Thunder Bay) after a few months in Nays, a former German POW camp on the north shores of Lake Superior. While in Fort William, Mom worked as a housekeeper for a local family.
It was in Lemon Creek that Mom met Dad. After the war, Dad moved to Toronto to finish high school at Jarvis Collegiate and to find work at a time when many businesses still would not hire Japanese-Canadians. Mom joined Dad in Toronto in 1950 where they married and raised the 4 of us.
Mom and Dad worked hard in the variety store business - long hours standing, 7 days a week. If Mom was not at the store, she was with us. Everything was for her family - being a “driveway hockey“ goalie, making patterns to sew costumes for school plays, teaching us memory games and word games. (Even at 95, Mom was still the family's word jumble champ). Every New Year's Eve Mom stayed up well past midnight, preparing a Japanese feast for the traditional New Year's Day open house that started once Dad got home from the store.
After Mom and Dad retired in 1982 they did everything together, especially enjoying their Leaf and Argonaut seasons tickets. They loved their seats up in the greys at the Gardens where the regulars (“The real fans” as Dad would say) and ushers all knew each other. But their favourite part of retirement was spending time with their beloved grandchildren, their 'buddies.’
Mom was tiny but strong willed and independent. After Dad died Mom wanted to stay in the house, doing as much as she could, all without outside help. In 2019, at age 94, Mom moved to the Claremont residence - it was a big adjustment, but Mom loved being part of the Claremont family. Even the day before Mom died, she still smiled her beautiful smile and said 'arigato' to everyone who came by. And in Mom's final months, her caregiver Nida brought even more happiness to Mom.
Mom and Dad did not have easy lives, but they did not dwell on the hardships. Despite their wartime experiences, they always proudly said 'I'm a Canadian.” They never complained about long hours of work, holidays never taken, fatigue or aches. Mom and Dad did everything for us and were happiest when they were with family. Arigato, Mom and Dad. We miss you so much but you will always be close in our hearts.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers or koden, please consider a donation in Mom’s memory to Toronto General Hospital or Sunnybrook Health and Sciences Centre.