Janet Koyamatsu Mizutani
November 30, 1932 – November 10, 2012
Janet Koyamatsu Mizutani was born in Haleiwa, Hawaii on November 30, 1932, daughter of Masato and Ikuko Koyamatsu. She became part of a family of 6 including 3 elder sisters, Hanami, Yoshino and Miyoko. Eventually her family would blossom to 6 sisters and one brother with the addition of Kazuo, Hirochan, Sanae and Pauline. Janet attended Wailua Elementary School. She attended Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School. She was such a promising student that her family encouraged her to apply for the elite English Standard High School, Roosevelt High. She passed the entrance exam and attended Roosevelt even though it meant traveling to Honolulu every day. She was very active at Roosevelt being one of the editors of the newspaper. She did so well in school that after she graduated from Roosevelt she was encouraged by her family and friends to continue her education on the mainland. Thus she matriculated at San Francisco City College. While attending school she lived in a boarding house with many other students. She quickly made many friends. Shortly after beginning school her sister Miyoko joined her in San Francisco. Janet met the man who she would eventually marry during her college days. His name was Merio Mizutani. They were wed in San Francisco. While Merio went to engineering school and worked as a truck driver at nights, Janet worked at Macy’s. She really enjoyed working at Macy’s because of the friendships she developed. Janet then gave birth to her first son, Wesley on September 29th, 1955. It was one of her proudest moments. A year and ½ later she gave birth to her second son, Keith, an equally proud moment.
They lived for several years in a duplex on Turk Street in San Francisco. When Merio completed engineering school, he was offered a job with a space aeronautics company in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles. So in the fall of 1962 Janet and her family moved to Encino, California. After less than a year in Encino, Merio secured a job with Atomic International in the Santa Suzanna Mountains so he moved the family to Canoga Park, California. Janet became very active in her son’s elementary school serving for many years as the noon lunch teacher assistant. She also became active and enjoyed being part of a Women’s Bridge Club. Janet also supplemented the family income by working in sales at nearby Department stores. As both Wesley and Keith went to elementary school she became involved not only in their school activities but also their extra-curricular activities like baseball and Woodcraft Rangers. However, she always emphasized the importance of education to her sons and did everything in her power to assure they both would attend college. Despite all this she still found time to take the boys to the beach where memorable hours were spent eating McDonalds and body surfing in Malibu.
While Wesley began high school, Merio began to develop symptoms of Cerebellar Ataxia which would eventually lead to his disability from work. So Janet, began to work at West Hills Hospital as an administrative assistant in the emergency room. Although the work was at times overwhelming, she enjoyed being involved in the medical field as well as the friendships she developed with nurses and doctors. During this period Janet was also very involved in her son’s school activities, whether it was making posters for Student Body President Elections or waiting endless hours for football practice to end.
Her devotion and hard work eventually came to fruition for Janet when both her son’s were enrolled at University of Southern California. However, simultaneously Merio’s physical condition began to deteriorate requiring Janet to become his caregiver for several years while working at maintaining her position at the hospital. Eventually his condition worsened to the point that he required frequent hospitalizations and eventually institutional care.
Meanwhile, through her constant encouragement Wesley applied to Medical School and in spring of 1977 was accepted to UCLA School of Medicine. This was a fulfillment of her lifelong dream and one of the proudest moments in her life. Wesley graduated Medical School in June, 1982 which also served as a reunion with many of her sisters and mother who flew out for the graduation. Around the same time Janet’s son Keith married LaRue Ellis on June 21, 1981 and Janet was happy that her son had found such a devoted and caring wife.
In 1988 Janet witnessed the marriage of Wesley to Susan Shimomaye in a grand ceremony in Los Angeles in which most of her siblings attended.
1991 was an eventful year. Janet’s first grandchild, Brandon Mizutani was born on March 10th, 1991, from parents Wesley and Susan, for which she was ecstatic. However, her life hit a low point 5 months later when Merio passed away from complications of pneumonia and cerebral ataxia.
When she had recovered from the death of her husband, she had another grand event, the birth of her second grandchild, Kristen from parents Wesley and Susan. Brandon’s and Kristen’s baby sitter vacated her job which allowed Janet the opportunity to be the Nanny for both children for most of the remainder of her life. She became an integral part of Wesley Mizutani’s household. She treasured her time with both children as well as the vacations she was able to accompany them on, from Washington DC to Orlando to Vancouver.
In 2010 Janet began to develop signs of an Alzheimer’s disease although mild initially. In April 2012 Janet was found to have colon cancer and subsequently underwent major surgery to remove cancer. Simultaneously her Alzheimer’s disease worsened. She had a tumultuous ensuing 6 months undergoing chemotherapy and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. On November 10, 2012 she passed away.
A visitation will be held from 9:00 am - 10:00 am on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at Pacific View Mortuary Chapel with a funeral service starting at 10:00 am. Graveside service to follow at Pacific View Memorial Park.
- Visitation Sunday, November 18, 2012
- Funeral Service Sunday, November 18, 2012
Janet Koyamatsu Mizutani
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November 17, 2012
I regret I only got to know Janet in her last months; may God comfort you, her family. I have also been blessed to get to know you.
November 15, 2012
Sorry for your loss. God Bless.