Sachiko Jeffrey, 89, passed away on September 23, 2021 with her husband of 54 years, James Fraser Jeffrey, and daughter, April Jeffrey Major, by her side. Born in Fukuoka, Japan, she lived a life full of both tragedy and beauty. She survived living in Nagasaki Prefecture during World War II, the death of her mother when she was in elementary school, and the death of her beloved stepfather at the age of 18. During these challenging times, she was comforted by deep friendships that lasted her lifetime. She found joy in traditional Japanese dance and was the top performer in her small town growing up. Sachiko married young and gave birth to a son, Hidenori Kishi, who still resides in Japan with her first granddaughter, Reika.
Though Sachiko’s first marriage ended after just 5 years, there was light in her future. While working as a bartender in her 30’s, she met James, a sailor stationed in Sasebo, Japan. He said she had an energy and a smile that drew people to her. They married 2 years later and moved to the United States in 1968. There she lived through the cold winters of Minnesota where her daughter, April, was born. She loved to tell the story of how the nurses ran around exclaiming, “A Japanese woman gave birth to a red-headed baby!”
After braving the seasons in Minnesota for 5 years, she welcomed the fish-filled waters of Vancouver, Washington for 6 months and finally the sunny shores of San Diego, California in 1975. It was in San Diego where she earned her reputation as a hilariously terrible driver, a friendly daily neighborhood walker, and eventually a loving grandmother to Xavier and Asia Major. Baachan, as they affectionately called her in Japanese, was their macaroni and cheese maker, ice cream giver, singer of Japanese children’s songs, and devoted supporter.
Despite many health challenges over the years, she lived a life of strength, gratitude, and humor. There will always be a Baachan story to warm our hearts. She is missed beyond words, but her spirit is free. She is interned at Miramar National Cemetery and is survived by her husband, daughter, and 2 grandchildren in the United States as well as her son and granddaughter in Japan.
Donations to the Japanese Friendship Garden at Balboa Park are being accepted in her honor for those who wish to contribute. Please write, “In memory of Sachiko Jeffrey” in the Additional Information Comments section: https://48323.blackbaudhosting.com/48323/JFG-Contributions.
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