In Memory

Amy Tanaka - Class Of 1963

Amy Tanaka

Amy Tanaka Ohye
1945 - 2019


Amy Tokiko Ohye of San Jose, California, passed away on October 29, 2019, with her husband by her side. Amy was born to parents Clarence and Lucille Tanaka on October 6, 1945, in Oahu, Hawaii. Lucille gave birth to five children in six years, beginning with Amy’s oldest brother, Clarence, sister Lillian, then brother Allan who was one year older than Amy. Amy’s birth was followed two years later by her youngest brother, Glenn. 

At seven years of age, Amy moved with her family to Johnson Air Base in Japan. Her father worked as a maintenance supervisor at Tokorozawa, and her mother, whom Amy referred to as “ahead of her time” worked as a bookkeeper. She moved back to Hawaii at the age of 17, and lived with her sister, Lillian.

Amy spoke fondly of her childhood. She shared with her daughters her memories of playing pool at the teen club, swimming, and riding mopeds. She maintained her love of fun, friends, and adventure throughout her life. 

In 1963, Amy graduated from Johnson High School. She was training to become a court reporter when she met Gerald Ohye at the University of Hawaii, where Gerald was working and attending class. Her sister Lillian knew Gerry from the bowling league and introduced them. A year and a half later, Amy and Gerry were married in a small ceremony in Kalihi, Hawaii, where Gerry grew up.

A few years later, in 1968, their oldest daughter, Michelle was born. At the time, they were living in an apartment near the Honolulu Zoo, where Amy would often take Michelle. Three years after Michelle, Marnie was born. The family then moved to Kaneohe, Hawaii, where they lived next door to Amy’s sister, Lil. 

Wanting a change and better opportunities for their children, Amy and Gerry moved to San Jose, California, where they had a third daughter, Maile. It was in this home that Amy raised her three daughters. In the same home where she joyfully hosted numerous birthdays, holiday celebrations, and parties, is where Amy peacefully passed away.

Amy was a devoted and active participant in her daughters’ lives. She was a presence on their elementary, middle, and high school campuses, often volunteering, organizing fundraisers, and attending all of her daughters’ sporting events including field hockey, soccer, basketball, and softball games. She held positions on the PTA, where she formed friendships that lasted long after her children graduated from high school. 

In 2001, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled cancer with radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Amy joined a breast cancer support group and bonded with this strong group of women.  Each year, Amy and her group – Breast Friends, together walked the survivor lap at the cancer fundraiser, Relay for Life. 

Amy had seemingly won her battle with breast cancer, when, in 2005, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Again, Amy tenaciously fought with more chemotherapy and participated in clinical trials when nothing else worked. She loved recalling a conversation she had with her oncologist who told her that he never expected to see her at his retirement. 

Cancer didn’t diminish Amy’s sense of adventure, and love of exploring foreign countries. She traveled to Germany with her oldest daughter and son in-law. On this trip, she drank beer and ate pretzels in Munich, drove to Austria in a BMW, and saw the castles of Fussen. Other traveling adventures included riding a donkey in Greece, golfing in New Zealand, snorkeling in the Mediterranean, and diving in the Great Barrier Reef. 

Her greatest joy however, were her grandchildren, Ashley, Jessica, Naomi, and Kenobi. She shared her love of sweets with them, and they always knew she kept a supply of candies, cookies, and ice cream in her kitchen. She lived by the mantra, “What happens at Grandma’s, stays at Grandma’s.” Just as she did with her own children, Amy attended her grandchildren’s soccer and volleyball games, piano and dance recitals, award assemblies, and graduations. 

Amy lived with adventure, friendship, and love. She is survived by her husband, Gerald Ohye, her daughters, Michelle Ohye of Mountain View, California, Marnie Ohye of Kapaa, Hawaii, and Maile Ohye of Oakland, California. She is also survived by her four siblings, and four grandchildren. 

The Johnson High alumni will miss Amy very much.