Itsuko Arita

15 February, 19371 June, 2021

Itsuko Arita was born on February 15, 1937 to Stanley Kazuo and Fudeko Okura Yoshimura in Alameda, California. She was the fifth daughter of 13 children. Youko (Joseph) Yamasaki, Reiko (Harry) Shibata, Minoru (June), Satoru, Toshiaki (Jayne), Kanoko Connie (Aki) Kojima, Yoshiko (Johnson) Otera, Michio (Norma), Itsuko (Art) Arita, Kuniko, Masashi (Barbara), Yuichi Roy (Karen), and Miyuki Mabel (Tom) Googins.

On February 19, 1941, an Executive Order 9066 was signed, and the family was moved to Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona. They lived in a barrack during the duration of World War II. When the family could leave camp, Governor Ralph Carr invited citizens of Japanese ancestry to move to Colorado. Since her father had worked as the Supervisor of the camp mess hall, he found work as a cook at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel. Soon after he sent for the rest of the family who had remained in camp. On June 1st, 1946, the family opened the S.K.Y. Coffee Shop and Bakery on Larimer Street followed by a Japanese landscaping business. Itsu worked at the family restaurant and it was there that she met Art Arita.

Art and Itsu were married on August 11, 1956 and lived in Denver their entire marriage. They have four children, Moni (Albert) Miyashita, Michael (Karon) Arita, Patti (Ken) Nix and Arlene (Bill) Boyer. They also have nine grandchildren, Jon, Bryon, Kelly, Melissa, Allison, Hannah, Paul, Jillian and Hayden, and six great-grandchildren, Hudson, Campbell, Porter, Avery Kate, Everett and Kai.

Itsu was a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, first and foremost. Her time was spent with family and friends. She traveled across the country and to Japan to see her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren on a regular basis and to attend all their special events and family reunions. She enjoyed traveling with her four sisters on regular planned trips. And she never forgot anyone’s birthday and always thoughtfully put cards in the mail for family and friends.

She also loved to paint and became a prolific artist after her kids grew up. Art retired early and supported her passion by setting up a professional frame shop in their basement where he matted and framed over 3,000 of her paintings. He purchased a van for her paintings and they drove to art shows and galleries in multiple states to exhibit and sell her paintings for many years. Even recently, she reached out to her grandchildren and painted their personal requests. Painting and being an artist were her love and she painted until the very end of her life.

Itsu was a warm, loving and generous person who was known for her wonderful sense of humor. She could approach any person and engage in conversation. She lived life to the fullest. Even as she received the diagnosis of ALS, a fatal disease with no cures or treatments, she faced each day with courage, grace and dignity. She never complained, she trusted her family and her doctors, and she had a strong mind until the very end. She was not afraid of death as she knew she was going to heaven and loved her life and the 84 years that God gave her with her family, friends, and all of life’s blessings.


  • Jon Arita, Active Pallbearer
  • Bryon Arita, Active Pallbearer
  • Paul Miyashita, Active Pallbearer
  • Hayden Nix, Active Pallbearer
  • Bill Boyer, Active Pallbearer
  • Patrick Morris , Active Pallbearer


  • Visitation

    Friday, 11 June , 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, 12 June , 2021


  • Committal Service

    Saturday, 12 June , 2021

  • Reception

    Saturday, 12 June , 2021


Itsuko Arita

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tracy Smith

16 June 2021

My condolences to Art and Family, Itsu brought so much fun to our SS classes, she was such a bright light and brought everyone together. She will be very missed.

loy mccollum

13 June 2021

Her art was so beautiful, she put the beauty of her soul in it.

Nick Resch

11 June 2021

Only being able to meet her once, while the Boyer’s taught me how to make mochi, Itsuko was so warm and welcoming to me. Her kind energy made me feel so comforted while we munched on all delicious snacks that Arlene prepared.

Mei-lan Stark

11 June 2021

Dear Art and family,

My deepest condolences. I will always remember Itsu’s bright smile that lit up her face and any room she was in. Her beautiful paintings, her ready laugh, her gentle nature, her sneaky poker skills, were all part of her special spirit. I’ll always remember her mischievous smile when she had a particularly good hand.

Art, you and Itsu are part of so many of my childhood memories. I still remember how she was such a supportive presence on my wedding day, helping me at the church, even arranging the train of my wedding dress.

May all your memories help bring you comfort during this time. I’m sending you love and support from afar.

Much love,


CJ Posk

11 June 2021

Mabel, we both come from a family sharing many sisters. As we grow older the thought of losing one is traumatic. I can honestly say I do not know how you feel, as I have not lost one of my 5 sisters, however I can feel your grief in knowing that someday I may be experiencing this loss. My love goes out to you and your family. I am going to try to log on to the service, but I'm not too good with Facebook.

Patty and Allyson Goto

10 June 2021

We were saddened to learn of Itsu's passing. She was very kind,
caring, warm-hearted, fun, and talented. We have some of her
beautiful paintings that we will continue to enjoy and cherish. May the love of family and friends bring you much comfort during this difficult time. We shall keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers.
Our love and sincere condolences to you and your family.

JM Jones

9 June 2021

Itsu was instrumental in leading me on a lifelong pursuit of art appreciation. The first original painting I bought was from her at a Denver Art Fair. It’s still one of my favorites because of the affection I have for what it brought to me life. Thank you Arita

Karen Taniguchi

9 June 2021

Dear Mr. Arita,

I was sad to hear from Arlene and Moni that Mrs. Arita passed away. And my heart goes out to you and your family…I have been praying for you… When I look back over the decades of knowing Mrs. Arita, a smile comes to my face as I remember her fun sense of humor, making me and others laugh all the time, etc.

I loved visiting you two over the years whenever I was on my way into or out of Colorado Springs. Mrs. Arita would often take me to a flea market in the earlier days and both of you made it a point to have a meal with me whenever I was in town or invite me to family dinners. Then she would often give me a personal gift…a great deal she found at a yard sale or flea market to add to my blue/white collection…she always remembered my birthday and sent me a birthday card no matter where I lived! I already miss her sense of humor, her kindness, her generosity, and her love.

Mrs. Arita was such a gift to me. I’m sorry that I’m out of town this weekend so I will miss the funeral service but plan to watch it virtually and would like to see you and visit Mrs. Arita’s gravesite when I return to Colorado.

Meanwhile, I am praying Psalm 46 for you and your family. Love, Karen Taniguchi

Carole Cousins

8 June 2021

I am so saddened by the passing of this amazing lady. I was privileged to have known her for the past 30+ years through my friendship with her daughter Moni. Kind, compassionate, talented and loving were just a few of her many attributes. I always looked forward to Mrs. Arita’s visits to Connecticut and the good times we shared during those visits.
My deepest sympathy to Mr. Arita and the entire family who she loved so very much.

Edie Lindsey

8 June 2021

Art, I was so sorry to hear of Itsu's passing. I will always remember our family vacations so many years ago. God bless you and your family. Edie Lindsey

From the Family