Chiyeko Ruth Togami, aged 93, passed away in Albuquerque, NM, on Monday, July 10th at UNMH with her immediate family at her bedside. She was born in Hatano, Kanagawa, Japan to Sashiro Isaac Sato (father) and Matsue Rebecca Sato (mother). She was one of six children Shichiro, Mieko, Michiko, Tatsuo and Yoshie. She attended Jiyu Gakuen for Junior and Senior High School, a school that was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. She attended nursing school at St. Luke’s Nursing College in Tokyo, where she continued working for two years before being invited to become the school nurse at the newly formed International Christian University. Here, she formed many lifelong friendships.
She came to the United States on a student’s visa to learn English as a second language and attended the University of Michigan in 1963. She had been corresponding with Henry Kenichi Togami and they intended to marry after she completed the program, which they did on January 23, 1964. They had three children, Calvin (who died as a newborn); followed by Joanna and Thomas.
She was an avid reader, cook, and crafter, actively participated in the Arts and Crafts section of the Japanese American Citizens League. (She and her husband were founding members of the Albuquerque Chapter). She loved the Arts, especially music with opera being a particular joy. She was raised as an Episcopalian and attended church at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church. She loved the members and enjoyed their fellowship. She was a beloved mother and wife, great friend to many, loving family member to all which included many who considered her family, though were not related by blood. She had a very funny sense of humor with a lightness of being that touched many people’s hearts. She was the rare person who applied perfectionism to herself but did not force it on others. She was compassionate, open minded, valued creativity and beauty and approached the world with a sense of wonder. She is survived by daughter, Joanna Therkildsen and son-in-law, Grant; son, Thomas Togami, and daughter-in-law, Debbie Lee; sister, Yoshie Sato and many nieces, nephews and their families.
A Dedication Service will be held at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, 425 University Blvd, NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106, on September 16th at 10:30 am. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall.