Memorial of a Best Friend-JoAnn Sakuoka

Normally, I refrain from personal posts, but sometimes life just seeps in and it wouldn’t feel right NOT to post it.

On Monday, May 24, 2010, I lost one of my best and closest friends.

Here is a photo of me and JoAnn (with the glasses) together at my son and dil’s wedding back in August 2009.

JoAnn found out that she had colon cancer in the second week of May. The doctors gave her 6 months time to live, she swore that she only had a month, if that. JoAnn died just shy of one month after finding out about the cancer…just like she said she would. She was 49 years old…she almost made it to 50…her birthday is in July. By the time 3 weeks had passed, we had just enough time to help her get her belongings in order and to help her find some peace of mind.  She had just barely found out about her diagnosis and she was already on oxygen and morphine.  Her brother cared for her for the short time that hospice was involved. She had just enough time to speak with her closest friends then, she died peacefully at home.

JoAnn was one of my best and closest friends. When I started my Elementary Teaching Career, after teaching 4 years of Intermediate school,  back in 1997 or so, she was the one person who helped me survive teaching the 4th Grade.  She had just finished one year of 4th grade. We were the ones way out in the field…far away from the rest of the grade level…and we stuck together and had a great start to close friendship. She and I have had many adventures together…personal fun, karaoke, crafting, beading, taking all kinds of classes…and just goofing around. We shared so many secrets and so many of life’s ups and downs…and through it all  she has been there for me, my husband, my son, my mom and my dad, no matter what and no matter when.  I know that I was as good a friend to her as she was to me.

To a wonderful, caring person, JoAnn Sakuoka…you were a true blessing.

smiles,

your closest friend…

alicia

——————————————————

JoAnn Sakuoka was currently teaching at Iroquois Point Elementary School and was previously at Ewa Elementary School.  We were both very active with HSTA while I was teaching and she continued to represent her teaching colleagues within HSTA.  She also taught English abroad in Japan prior to being a public school teacher. She always said that she had some of the best times of her life living and teaching in Japan. Teaching: It was an experience that she cherished.

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19 Comments

Filed under Memorial

19 responses to “Memorial of a Best Friend-JoAnn Sakuoka

  1. A lovely memorial for a lovely lady. Hold you friends memory close to your heart and she will never be forgotten. Lynn

  2. Marie bayard

    Sorry to hear it, hun, but she will always be alive in the hearts of those who knew her. Sending you huge hugsssssss. Love you.

  3. Mona

    JoAnn was a great friend to you and I am glad you had her and she had you. Life is what you make of it you both LIVED!

    I have only met her a handful of times through you but had so much fun.

    You gave her peace and I know she cherished each and every moment with you, her dearest friend, not just the last few weeks.

    JoAnn, Thank You for being a great friend to my friend.

    Me ke Aloha Pumehana…Mona

  4. Mel

    *hugs* Alicia.
    I do hope you can remember her well.
    A lovely write-up.

  5. Very sweet tribute – so sorry to hear of your loss.

  6. Aloha Alicia,
    This is a lovely post, JoAnn will be greatly missed for her sweet giving heart. The HSTA ohana is so saddened by her passing. I am wondering if we could post a link to your posting on our Leeward Facebook Page, it is so well written and embodies the true spirit of JoAnn.
    Mahalo,
    Andrea

  7. I am deeply saddened to hear of JoAnn’s passing. I served with her on the HSTA BOD, and she always had a smile on her face. I admired her beading and craft projects, and we usually found some time to chat about that. She was truly a great person, and I will truly miss her.

  8. Marl

    What a lovely tribute to your friend. Remember that both of you were there for each other until the end.

    Marl

  9. Gee

    What a beautiful tribute. She was indeed the one with the sweet smile and giving spirit. I considered her a friend too. Many small gifts, a perfect smile and lots of giggles—I will always remember, Joann.

  10. Thomasina Simmons

    Aloha Friend…wonderful tribute…she helped many people pull through their first years of teaching…I remember! Putting this up was very nice…and necessary since she will only have a private ceremony for her family. How can I show this post to other teachers?

    • Gail Kono

      JoAnn will truly be missed. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with a very special person as herself. She was so caring a loving. I will always cherish our friendship.

  11. Judy Zoller / Juice

    JoAnn will be miss here at I.P.E.S , Im the HeadCustodian, she was one of my only bird I would Talk to her for Hours in the morning, and then she would ask
    ( Can you open the computer room ) and yes I did.It was a pleasure working here with her she was a wonderful Teacher as while a freind sad to not see her again but I pose awhile when Im up her bldg, and still look at her
    room. And thing why this happen to her. Fly with Angels / Juice

  12. Judy Zoller / Juice

    JoAnn will be miss here at I.P.E.S , Im the HeadCustodian, she was one of my early bird I would Talk to her for Hours in the morning, and then she would ask
    ( Can you open the computer room ) and yes I did.It was a pleasure working here with her she was a wonderful Teacher as while a freind, sad to not see her again but I pause awhile when Im up her bldg, and still look at her
    room. And thing why this happen to her. Fly with Angels / Juice

  13. Judy Zoller / Juice

    JoAnn will be miss here at I.P.E.S , Im the HeadCustodian, she was one of my early bird I would Talk to her for Hours in the morning, and then she would ask
    ( Can you open the computer room ) and yes I did.It was a pleasure working here with her she was a wonderful Teacher as while a freind, sad to not see her again but I pause awhile when Im up her bldg, and still look at her
    room. And think why this happen to her. Fly with Angels / Juice

  14. Judy Zoller / Juice

    Sorry, for writting for so many times, First time doing this. you take care Alicia.

  15. Ruby

    I am very saddened by to have learned about Jo Ann’s passing. We were “co-teachers” at Ewa Elementary School, teaching a 3/4 combination class. The students LOVED her and she was such a wonderful friend and mentor. I’m gonna miss her… miss her telling me at Longs Drugs Ewa when we see each other,”I still gotta take your boys fishing”…I will cherish those memories always.

  16. Juli Patten

    JoAnn will be sorely missed by the Leeward HSTA Ohana she was one of those people you could count on for help, advice, a laugh, her smile and steady confidence will be sorely missed, fly with angels…

  17. Cindy Constantino

    I was saddened to hear of JoAnn’s passing. I will always remember JoAnn for her loving spirit and her shining smile. Although I only worked at Iroquois for a short while, I cherished her friendship. I looked forward to seeing her at the chapter meetings. JoAnn will be greatly missed. She was a terrific person who had a warm and kind heart.

  18. Marie Carter

    Thank you for this wonderful blog about our friend JoAnn. I taught with her at IPES and although we never saw each other much except at staff meetings and the teachers’ lounge room, I always admired her smile and enjoyed our little chats in the hallways. I was on sabbatical when I found out she was diagnosed with cancer and then passed soon after. It reminded me of my father’s situation and I was very sad when I found out about JoAnn. I was planning to send her a card at her residence just days before she passed. My heart sunk when I found out she was gone. She is greatly missed by all.

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