Cover photo for Lillie Yuriko Kiyokawa's Obituary
1929 Lillie 2022

Lillie Yuriko Kiyokawa

January 18, 1929 — July 22, 2022

Lillie Yuriko Kiyokawa

January 18, 1929  -  July 22, 2022

Lillie Yuriko passed away on Friday, July 22nd, 2022 in Portland Oregon at the age of 93. She lived a long and full life!

She was born in Clovis, New Mexico to Tamon and Harue Kimura as the 4th of thirteen children. Despite experiencing racial prejudice in this small border town, her life was filled with adventures trapping scorpions and collecting rattle snake rattlers. Although segregated in a Union Pacific railroad compound, she made several close friends in town. Her life changed dramatically on December 7th, 1941 as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese were fired from their railroad jobs as machinists and their family was restricted to living within the railroad compound.

When their lives were threatened by vigilantes the family was transported by federal agents under the cloak of darkness to Fort Stanton and eventually relocated to an abandoned CC camp in Lincoln National Forest. A historic marker was placed at that site in 2014.

The evacuation and interment orders did not include  New Mexico but the family eventually was sent to Poston #2 interment camp in Arizona. The family would later move to Caldwell, Idaho where her Texas drawl  and "Y'all" set her apart. It was in Caldwell that she met her future husband, Tio Kiyokawa. They married on September 2, 1947 and moved to Portland, Oregon. Tio and Lil spent the balance of their lives and raised their family in Portland.

Lillie's life came full circle when she was welcomed back to Clovis on 6/7/2014 to receive a key to the city of Clovis by Mayor Lansford and the city counsel. She also served as honorary Grand Marshall with brother Fred Kimura and fellow railroad resident Roy Ebihara. The theme of the annual celebration "Welcome back to the homestead"

A skilled cook she worked for the Bohemian Bakery and the Sheraton Hotel. Of note, she helped prepare meals under the watchful eye of the secret service  for several U.S. Presidents. A hard worker, she went to work for Freightliner Corp. Although not in her skill set or 4' 10" frame, Lillie Built Semi truck cabins. Her co-workers adapted blocks so she could reach the pedals as she drove the trucks off the line.

Lillie's generosity was known to many.  Always willing to lend a hand to those in need. After retiring she used her cooking skills to volunteer at the Ikoi No Kai lunch program. For years she prepared and donated weekly homemade desserts.

Lillie enjoyed hunting Matsutake Mushrooms in the Fall and her family enjoyed the delicious lunches she prepared for those outings. She bowled, not well, but enjoyed the camaraderie of good friends. Lillie and her boundless energy walked the golf course well into her 80's.

Lillie was preceded in death by her husband Tio Kiyokawa, son Stan and daughter-in-law Joyce Kiyokawa. She is survived by her children, Shirley Glos (Rodger), Perry Kiyokawa (Sue) and Betty Kinoshita (Ken) and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A private gathering of her family will celebrate her remarkable life.

Donations can be made to:

Ikio No Kai, 1333 SE 28th Ave., Portland, OR, 97214

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lillie Yuriko Kiyokawa, please visit our flower store.


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