Yuko Saito

December 1, 1955June 4, 2021

Yuko Saito (65) passed away peacefully in her home in Okemos on June 4, 2021, after suffering from pancreatic cancer, she was in home hospice. In Japan, she served as the Principal of Tsuchiura Second Elementary School for 3 years before her retirement, and moved to the United States in April of 2013 to join her husband, NSCL Professor Kenji Saito at Michigan State University.

She cultivated many diverse interests during her life in Michigan, including local birdwatching, cooking, gardening and playing piano. She loved travel in the US as well as abroad, sightseeing, and shopping in the US. She enjoyed participating in the ESL program (English as a Second Language) at Lansing Community College. Yuko was very compassionate, taking under her wing many, younger Japanese families, scholars and students new to Okemos, taking the role of a Japanese mother/grandmother in Michigan. She made many friends during the past eight years and is loved by many people and will be sorely missed.

Yuko was a very intelligent person. Every month, she reported on her life experiences in the United States as the Michigan Report, and sent it to many friends living in Japan and the United States. She included many topics in these reports such as differences in lifestyles between Japan and USA, differences in thinking, democracy, presidential election, COVID-19 pandemic, and so on. She created 98 reports, and these reports will be published as a book by the family in the near future.

In addition to her husband Kenji, Yuko is survived in Japan by her son Yosuke, daughter in-law Masako, daughter Aya, and her mother and father.

There will be a memorial visitation for Yuko at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Chapel, 1730 E. Grand River Ave. in East Lansing on Tuesday, June 8 from 6pm until 8pm.


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, June 8, 2021


Yuko Saito

have a memory or condolence to add?

Hiroko Tanguchi

June 8, 2021

Yuko san, you were one of the most thoughtful, generous, curious, cheerful, and kind people I've ever met in my entire life. I will keep living with what I learned from you, and your beautiful spirit.

Taro Konomi

June 8, 2021

You encouraged me when I was doctor course student. Thank you very much for your kindness and heartful advices.
I give my deepest sympathies.

Taro Konomi

Ann Sakamoto

June 8, 2021

Thank you for everything you have taught me. I have learned a lot from you. You are my friend and mentor and our big sister.
You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Caroline Santos

June 7, 2021

I am so glad to have meet such amazing person who was so sweet. I could share some moments with Yuko and my heart is broken in little pieces. Emmy and I love you.
My condolences to her family.

Samuele Lago

June 7, 2021

You always told us that you wanted to come and visit us in Italy, unfortunately it won't be possible but in a certain way you will be here: we are going to plant a Japanese cherry tree in our garden in your honor.
Goodbye our friend, with love.

Steven Lund

June 6, 2021


I am so sorry for your loss. Yuko helped our son Joe in his study of Japanese. She loved to teach, and was both patient and energetic with with young kids like Joe (9-11 years old during help). Her efforts enabled Joe to continue Japanese to present (6th grade level). Yuko will be missed but never forgotten.


Isolde Jamison

June 6, 2021

To Yuko's family:
I feel great sorrow over Yuko's passing and know that yours is infinitely greater. I am so sorry for your loss. Yuko never failed to impress me with her enthusiasm and interest in learning more and new things. I miss her.
Thinking of you all,