Yuka Fujikura. Photo by Katelyn Elemad Photography.
Gaithersburg, MD. Yuka passed away peacefully on March 23, 2021 at the age of 94. Born in Hood River, Oregon she was the beloved youngest child of Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui, sister to Yuki and Michi and her brothers Kay, Ray, Minoru, Roku, Robert and Homer.
Yuka attended high school in Hood River until May 1942 when Executive Order 9066 authorized the incarceration of tens of thousands of American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan. She was removed and incarcerated first in Pinedale, California and then at Tule Lake, California.
She was able to leave the relocation camp unaccompanied at age sixteen to enter high school in Denver, Colorado. Upon graduation she attended the University of Oregon and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Yuka furthered her education by getting a Master of Nursing Degree from Yale University and a Master of Public Health Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
She worked as a nurse at Grace-New Haven Hospital and later at the Visiting Nurses Association in New Haven. She won a Fulbright Scholarship to work and study Demography at the Institute of Public Health in Japan, where field studies were being done on people working in the rice growing, the coal mining and the fishing industries.
While in Japan she met and married the love of her life and “Best Friend” Toshio Fujikura, a pathologist. She returned with him to the states and had four children. She continued her volunteer work in Public Health while raising a family, gardening, cooking, doing Japanese embroidery, singing, and traveling.
She was the heart of her family and instilled in them the values of her father that “We are all born for a purpose, and that purpose is to make this world a better place for our having been here.”
A member of the Japanese American Veterans Association, Yuka served in its Speakers Bureau. She discussed her war time experiences at community assemblies, schools, professional organizations and government departments. She was also a resident of the Asbury Methodist Village where she was a valued speaker of the Keese School of Continuing Education.Yuka leaves behind her husband, Toshio; and children Amy, Kay, Ken and Tyra, brother Homer; and grandchildren Kevin, Daniel and Katelyn and many nieces and nephews, family and friends. In remembrance of Yuka’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award https://www.sparkthechangecolorado.org/mycva.