Posted: December 29th, 2012

The family of Coleen Sekiya regrets to announce the peaceful passing of our dear mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt on Wednesday, December 26th at the Lethbridge Regional Hospital, after a brief illness. Coleen was born in New Westminster, BC. on September 2, 1923 as the eldest child of Gonpei and Namiye Fukunaga. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband Shigeo, and siblings: sister Elma (Miyai) and brothers Jim, Robert, and Archie. Coleen is survived by her children Brian (Holly) and Carol, as well as her grandchildren Shawn, Megan, and Nicole. Also left to mourn her passing are her sister Joan (Harold) Lauttamus and brother Kay (Jeannie) Fukunaga, and his family.
Born to first-generation “Issei” parents, Coleen was a hard working, responsible daughter, raised on their strawberry farm located in Surrey, BC. As with many Japanese Canadians, Coleen and her family were effected by the War Measures Act of 1941 which led to their internment in Tashme, BC. In order to stay together, the family agreed to be relocated to Southern Alberta. There they worked on sugar beet farms, eventually settling in Taber, where Coleen met Shig. They married and after the birth of their 2 children moved to Williams Lake, BC. Shig died there in a lumbermill accident, after which Coleen moved with her children back to the support of her parents in Lethbridge. She devoted herself to providing for her children, brothers, and ageing parents. While working for Empress Foods, Frache’s Greenhouses, and other employers, Coleen always found time for cooking, knitting sox, making cross-stitched tablecloths, gardening, and volunteering for her church. Coleen’s homemade from scratch lemon-meringue pies became legendary at church and other bazaars. She loved her Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization walking group, and was their resident “Cookie Lady”. Coleen spent her last nine years at the Blue Sky Lodge near her old northside neighbourhood, enjoying reading, walking and the company of her family and friends.
We greatly appreciate the care given to Coleen by her Home Care support team, including Jackalyn and Tanya, among many others. The family also extends it gratitude to the staff of the Lethbridge Regional Hospital for the compassionate care given to Coleen during the course of her recent health issues, particularly Dr. Janzen. We also especially want to thank Dr. Roland Ikuta, not only professionally, but as a friend to Coleen and the family during such difficult times.
A gathering in Coleen’s memory will be held at the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (500 – 11 Street South) on Saturday, December 29th , 2012 from 3 – 5:30 p.m. In memory of Coleen, the family asks that donations be made to: The Stephen Lewis Foundation, (STN. Brm. B, Toronto, Ontario M7Y 2W1), Doctors Without Borders (P.O. Box 26399 STN K, Toronto, Ontario M7Y 4R1), The Alberta New Democrats ( 201 – 10544 – 114 St. NW, Edmonton, Alberta T5H 9Z9), or the charity of your choice.
Koden and flowers are gratefully declined.

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  1. Jane Anne Maryka says:

    My heartfelt condolences to Brian and Holly and Shawn, Megan and Nicole, as well as the rest of the family for your loss.
    I know she was a very special part of your family and will be deeply missed.
    Hold your memories close and treasure them.

  2. Janet Adachi says:

    Dear Carol,
    With deepest sympathy on the loss of your dear Mom.

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