Kazuko Sasamori, 90 of Urbana died Sunday November 6th. Kazuko was born in Nagasaki Japan on May 20, 1932. The daughter of Masao and Fumi Maeda. She spent her childhood in Dalian China until the end of WWII.
After WWII she returned to Japan as a teenager (with her mother, younger sister, and brother) to her devastated birth city, Nagasaki. The 4 of them waited, with uncertainty, to see if their father/husband would return from a POW work camp in Siberia. He was released and returned two years later. After finishing junior high school in Saga, Japan, the family moved north to Sendai, Japan as Kazuko’s father was assigned to a local bank there. After completing high school in Sendai, Japan Kazuko attended a two year vocational college studying nutrition. On April 12,1958, She married Takashi Sasamori, who was employed as meteorologist at the Self Defense Agency. Their first son Koichi was born in 1959, and their second son Akira was born in 1961. In February 1964, she, Takashi and the two young boys came to Boulder Colorado and stayed two years while Takashi was a visiting scholar. There, Kazuko gave birth to Keiko, her only daughter. After returning briefly to Japan for one year, the family of five returned to Colorado where Takashi was a staff member of NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research). There in Boulder, Kazuko helped raise the three children volunteering with Mountain View Methodist church. She was well known for her delicious homemade egg rolls brought to many Boy Scout family potlucks. In 1976, she accompanied the family to Stockholm Sweden while Takashi took a sabbatical there. In 1978, She, Takashi, Akira and Keiko moved to Urbana, Illinois when Takashi was appointed a faculty member in the Astrophysics department. In Urbana Kazuko enjoyed gardening at the Meadowbrook gardens, participating in the knitting club, being a member at Wesley UMC and bringing Japanese food for Japan House events. She and Takashi would often take walks with their dog Nikki to nearby Meadowbrook park. After Takashi passed away in 2001, Kazuko spent time with some of the many international students at Orchard Downs befriending them and helping them get acquainted with Urbana-Champaign.
Kazuko is preceded in death by her husband Takashi, and sister Etsuko of Tokyo, She is survived by her brother Masafumi (Kuniko) Maeda of Tokyo, Japan, Koichi Sasamori (Xiaohong Zhang) of Urbana,IL Akira Sasamori of Willowbrook, IL, and Keiko (Brent) Hanson of Castle Rock Illinois. and three adult grandchildren Collin, (Chicago, IL), Conor (Castle Rock, CO) and Kendall (Denver, CO).
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Renner-Wikoff Chapel, 1900 S. Philo Rd., Urbana, is assisting the family with arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Champaign County Humane Society. Condolences may be offered at www.renner-wikoffchapel.com