We Remember

YAMAOKA, Mitsuko “Shirley”

October 28, 1922 — September 16, 2020

Born Vancouver, BC on October 28, 1922, and passed away peacefully in Kelowna, BC, on September 16, 2020 at the age of 97.

Shirley was predeceased by her husband Toshio Yamaoka (2013), and sisters Tomiye Yokota, Fusaye Hori and Kay Nishida. Shirley is survived by her son Gerry (Vicky) Yamaoka and daughter Kathy (Glen) Richdale; four grandchildren Shaun (Keri) and Kristy Yamaoka, Josh and Samantha Richdale; and great-grandson Jayden Yamaoka.  She is also survived by her sister Shizuko Fujimoto; and sister-in-law Audrey Yamaoka; as well as numerous nieces and nephews across Canada and the USA.

Shirley was born in Vancouver, BC; a city slicker who adapted to life on an orchard in the Ellison Area of Kelowna after marrying Toshio.  Shirley eventually started her own hairdressing business, Fairlane Beauty Salon in Rutland.

Mom was always busy as she mastered hobbies of painting, knitting, crocheting and cross-stitch. She started skiing at the age of 54, entered and even won some downhill competitions. She gave up skiing as golf became her passion.  Shirley and Toshio were members at Central Park and Kelowna Golf and Country Club for many years and even travelled to Prince Rupert to play in the BC Summer games.

She was extremely competitive in everything she did and enjoyed playing cards for hours with her friends and family members.

Mom loved to entertain during special holidays and prepared amazing delicious family dinners, which would also include traditional Japanese cuisine.

Shirley lived a long and happy life and will be sadly missed by her family and friends who were fortunate enough to know this wonderful lady.  She cherished her family, with a special place in her heart for her grandchildren and great-grandchild.

The family would like to thank the staff at Brandt’s Creek Mews, especially Tracey, for their kindness, support and care over the last two years.  We can never thank Dr. William Mackle enough for his years of caring for Mom.

In lieu of flowers and Koden, donations may be made to the Kelowna Buddhist Temple.  Due to Covid-19, Shirley’s Celebration of Life will be a private family affair by invitation only.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

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Kelowna Buddhist Temple Link: www.kelownabuddhisttemple.org




  • Wendy Nagata Mahtoy says:

    Dear Gerry, Vicky,Kristy, Shaun, Keri, Jayden, Kathy, Glen, Josh and Samantha: Our hearts and thoughts are with you during this time of grieving. Please know that you are not alone in remembering a truly wonderful and vibrant Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother that meant so much to so many. Our sincere condolences to the Yamaoka Family. Tosh Nagata, Wendy, Jim. Akemi, Al, Les, Gloria, Marisa, Risa, Dan and Drew

  • Richard Flewelling says:

    Our sincere condolences Kathy, Glen, Sam & Josh on the loss of such an important person in your life, may your memories bring you comfort, Rick & Christine

  • Tom and Karen Robertson says:

    Lovely remembrance write up on a very special lady who it sounds lived her life to the fullest. May your memories soften the loss you are feeling.
    Tom and Karen

  • Kenji and Gloria Hokazono says:

    Gerry, Kathy and the Yamoaka families,
    Please accept our most sincere and heartfelt condolences on the passing of your mother and family member. She shared the same ‘Japanese’ name as our mother, but foremost she shared a great friendship over the years with our mother, whether bowling, golfing or socializing while they ‘worked’ or attended events at the Otera. Whenever a member of our family would see her, she would acknowledge our presence pleasantly with a smile and hello!
    Sincerely, Ken and Gloria Hokazono.

  • Faith Kinoshita says:

    Dear Gerry, Kathy and family, I am so sorry to hear of Shirley’s passing. She was mom’s hairdresser for years and a family friend. Shirley was so gracious. I always thought she and your dad were a handsome couple. Our heartfelt sympathy to all.
    Ethel and Faith Kinoshita

  • Springfield Funeral Home says:

    I just heard of your Mom’s passing. So sorry for your family’s loss. Your Mom and Dad were long time friends of my parents, Tami and Roy Kuroda of Summerland.
    Mom was a Tomiye, born and raised in Kelowna. Your parents and mine, made many memories over many years, golfing on different courses, socializing at each others homes, travelling, and sharing lots of meals and games of cards!

    On behalf of my family, we send our deepest sympathies to your family.

    Darlene Kuroda Richer

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