KOTO TANAKA Aunty K was born on September 9, 1915, in Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii, to Issei coffee farmers Kansuke Tanaka and Natsu Yamamoto. At Konawaena High School, she was a member of the girls' basketball team for four years, and captain in her senior year. She excelled academically and graduated in 1934. She was the first of her generation to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She worked for room and board until graduation in 1939. Trained as a dental hygienist, she worked for the Department of Public Instruction (pre-DOE), serving public schools in rural Maui, the Kona and Kau districts on Hawaii, and later in Honolulu. During that period, all public school students had their teeth checked annually by a dental hygienist. After dental hygienists were transferred to the Department of Health and services to students were cut back, Aunty taught middle school math. She retired at age 49, and enjoyed a long, happy, and social life with family and friends. Always a doting aunt, she was generous and caring with her nieces and nephews, teaching them common courtesy and social skills, but not without discipline. She was a great storyteller of family history, including personal experiences of "hinotama" (fireballs). Aunty K passed away peacefully at age 98 on March 29, 2014, in Kaneohe. She is survived by her sister Nancy Motoko Honda (Morikichi) and three generations of nieces and nephews.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased