Hisae Hagiwara Chew was born in Tokyo, on November 10th, 1933, in the 8th year of the Showa Emperor. She died as a result of aspiration pneumonia caused by end-stage vascular dementia at Vermont Square Long Term Care Home in Toronto, on the morning of December 24th, 2019.
She lost her birth father in Manchuria, raised four younger sisters through the firebombing of Tokyo, excelled in athletics and calligraphy in school, learned Spanish to move to South America, taught Japanese for the U.S. State Department, got married, moved to the United States, had two sons, moved to Toronto, taught Japanese to her sons, taught Japanese to the Ontario pavilion staff at Expo ’70, travelled around the world, bought a house, planted a garden, revamped and taught the Japanese programme at York University, survived stomach cancer, bought a second house in the Yucatan, planted a second garden, learned to snorkel and communicate with sea turtles and squid, taught decades of visitors how to snorkel and love the sea and the fish, learned reiki, taught reiki, developed dementia, was found by her stepbrothers, was well cared for by doctors, nurses, and PSWs, said her goodbyes, and passed away peacefully in her own bed. She donated her body to the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, and her ashes will eventually be interred in Toronto and scattered in the Yucatan.
She is survived by her husband, Prof. John J. “Jack” Chew, Jr., her sons John (Kristen) and Edward (Alice), sisters Nobuko, Tomoko, Kimiko and Toshiko, brothers Mikio and Yoshiteru, and grandchildren Ian, Jay, Jamie and Liam.
Hisae was a deeply spiritual person, and espoused the Shinto values of respect for ancestors and love of nature, but she had no time for religion or ceremony. Those of us who are left behind have mourned her dementia long enough that we would like to plan this event in a spirit of celebration, while recognizing the grief that we will always carry with us.
We invite you therefore to join us for a few hours to share music, food, and stories about Hisae, and to meet others whose lives she touched.
When: Sunday, January 26th, from 1:00–4:00 P.M.
R.S.V.P.: John Chew at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a slightly more detailed estimate of our plans for the afternoon.
2:00 Ted Chew and family to play some of Hisae’s favourite songs
3:00 Eulogies etc. as listed in programme
For more information, please feel free to contact John Chew electronically on Facebook or Google Hangouts, or by email at email@example.com.