Ayako "Aya" Yamakoshi

Deceased: October 20, 2016

Service Information:

Memorial Visitation: Sunday, November 13, 2016 12pm until Memorial Service 1pm at Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W. Menomonee St., Chicago
Interment: Private


Ayako ("Aya") Yamakoshi was born on June 6, 1927 in San Diego, California to parents Sohichi and Misao Hosaka. She passed away in Park Ridge, Illinois on October 20, 2016.
Aya's father was awarded the Emperor of Japan's Gold Medal of Honor for his contributions to agriculture and was one of the founders of the San Diego Buddhist Church. Her mother loved the Japanese arts and was self-taught in folk and classical dancing, poetry, painting and singing.
Aya had two older brothers, Henry and George, and a younger sister Sayoko.
With the outbreak of World War II, Aya was thirteen when the family was sent to the Poston Internment Camp, in Arizona, then to the Crystal City Family Internment Camp in Texas. When the war ended, the family resettled in Fresno, California and became successful fruit farmers.
After graduating from high school, Aya received a full scholarship to attend the Kann Institute of Art in Hollywood, California. In 1946, Aya was crowned the first Miss Bussei or young American Buddhist queen of Central California.
In 1950, Aya married Noboru ("Noby") Yamakoshi, founder and chairman of Nobart which was a large graphic design and production company. During the company’s formative years, Aya worked on commercial artwork while the family lived in Park Ridge.
Aya was an extraordinarily talented artist who created hundreds of works of art, many of them paintings. She also devoted many years to community work throughout the Midwest, California and Florida. Besides her intense passion and love of art, Aya's interests were golfing, swimming, haiku writing and painting Buddhist subject matter.
Husband Noby passed away in 1995 but Aya continued her community service with the Japanese American Citizens League and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida.
Aya was gentle, beautiful inside and out, peaceful, a joy to be with, talented yet humble, generous and thoughtful and we were so very fortunate to have such a special and wonderful human being as our Mother and grandmother.
Aya is survived by sons Warren and Brian, daughter Vivian, and two grandchildren, Brooke and Ryan
A memorial service will be held at Midwest Buddhist Temple, 435 W. Menomonee St., Chicago, IL at 1 pm on Sunday November 13, 2016
, visitation at 12 pm. In lieu of flowers remembrances may be made to the Midwest Buddhist Temple or the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Info – Lakeview Funeral Home, 773-472-6300 or www.LakeviewFuneralHome.com.