January 1940 — February 5, 2022
Shizuko Kaneko passed away peacefully and comfortably in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at the age of 82 to join her husband, Masamitsu, and eldest son, Jon. She resided in Oxnard for 30 years and helped run Kaneko Landscaping; first with her husband, then with her son. Prior to Oxnard, the family was called Santa Maria at home, where Shizuko worked in various jobs, from making bouquets of flowers at a horticulturist to a private housekeeper, but was always an involved mother/housewife. In 2013, Shizuko moved to Orange City with Masamitsu, then later to Laguna Hills after her husband passed away.
Shizuko was born in January 1940 in the region called Manchuria (now China) during the early days of the war. Because her father, Teiji, was a soldier, her mother (Toshi) and siblings were expatriated from Japan. After the end of World War II, the family returned to Japan and Shizuko completed her studies, then attended the graduation school to learn skills such as sewing, knitting, cooking, finance household and child rearing. When she turned 21, she entered into an arranged union with Masamitsu, a 30-year-old man who lived in southern Japan. They married on October 4, 1961 and settled in Kagoshima. After the birth of their eldest daughter, Masamitsu was intrigued by the idea of moving to the United States. He wanted to cultivate acres and acres of vegetables and work the land with his hands. In 1965 he began the process that would change their lives forever.
In 1966 the family emigrated to Santa Maria and Masamitsu started working at Minami Farms. Shizuko had four more children (3 sons and 1 daughter) and although the challenges of coming to a foreign country were daunting, she persevered. She taught herself English, learned to drive and navigate the complexities of being an immigrant to America. She insisted that her children attend a Japanese-language school every Saturday despite loud protests of “that’s not fair!” She saved and saved so her children could go to college and grow into successful adults. Shizuko was a tireless supporter of the Guadalupe and Oxnard Buddhist temples, helping out at every fundraising event and serving on the board of directors for the Women’s Association of both churches. She enjoyed shigin (sung poetry), Japanese calligraphy, bus tours of national monuments, and seeing her family, especially grandchildren. She and Masamitsu were married for 56 years, lived in two countries, six different cities, eight homes, and made countless friends.
She leaves behind a legacy of hard work and tenacity in her surviving family: Gwyn (Ted Fuller) with her grandchildren, Kati, Christo (Robin) and great-granddaughters, Kailey, Olivia and Rosalie; Sandy and her grandson, Jakob; Randy (Carolyn) and his grandson Patrick; and Kevin (Mandy) with his grandchildren, Nicholas, Mia and Samantha. Shizuko has two surviving sisters and brother in Japan as well as nephews, nieces, cousins, and extended family.
His family will hold a private memorial service and bury him at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura, California. The family would like to express their gratitude to Memorial Care Hospice at Saddleback Hospital for their dedicated care during her final days. In lieu of flowers, the family would like you to consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or the Oxnard Buddhist Temple (www.oxnardbuddhisttemple.org) in Shizuko’s memory. Cards can be mailed to Family c/o Gwyn Kanekofuller, 13851 Seagate Drive, San Leandro, CA 94577.