LILLIAN TOMASU CHUR
LILLIAN TOMASU CHUR Lillian Tomasu Chur, 82, died peacefully at home in Oakland, Calif. on March 14, 2016 from complications of heart failure. She was born in Honolulu in 1933 to Katashi and Mitsuye Tomasu, and witnessed the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a teenager - after her mother died and her stepmother, Edith, lost her eyesight - Lillian helped cook and clean for a family of nine. Lillian earned her BA in education from the University of Hawaii, paying tuition by working the overnight shift at the Libby pineapple cannery for 91 cents an hour. Lillian had an adventurous spirit and an enduring love of travel. In 1957, she became a teacher in Levittown, Penn., for a chance to see snow and the East Coast. In 1959, she moved to Bremerhaven, Germany, where she taught elementary school at the US Army base. She made lifelong friends there, including Lois Adams, Mary Behrens, Effi Cartan and Marion Lindquist. Lillian traveled with some of them through Europe, experiencing a memorable encounter at a Berlin checkpoint when they refused to pay an East German soldier a bribe to leave East Berlin. In 1960, Lillian moved to Oakland. She taught at Santa Fe Elementary School and St. Augustine School in Oakland, later working as an aide at Wildwood Elementary School in Piedmont. In 1963, she married Gaylord Chur, a civil engineer with CalTrans. Together they had one daughter, Elizabeth. In later years, Lillian traveled to China, the Copper Canyon, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, the Galapagos, Hungary, Japan, Kenya and Russia, among other destinations. A talented seamstress, she sewed many of her family's clothes, and later enjoyed quilting. For many years she attended Berkeley Rep and Cal Performances. She was an avid reader of biographies and the Sunday New York Times, and enjoyed listening to NPR and watching MSNBC. Lillian volunteered with the East Bay Music Festival, and for 20 years coordinated the monthly Loaves & Fishes dinner for homeless neighbors at Newman Hall in Berkeley, where she was a longtime parishioner. Her buttery scones with dried apricots and orange zest were legendary. Lillian cultivated a vast network of friends from the many chapters of her life. She was extraordinarily generous and kind, had a steely inner strength that belied the physical frailty of her later years, and maintained her wry humor and flair for storytelling to the end. Deepest thanks to the many people who helped care for Lillian, including the staff at St. Paul's Towers; her outstanding team of caregivers, including Mila, Irma, Elisa, Alicia, Mae and Vanessa; and especially her sister-in-law, Diane Chur; her primary care physician, Dr. Mary Patton; and her cardiologist, Dr. Maria Ansari. Lillian is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth; many extended family members; and countless friends. A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. at Newman Hall Holy Spirit Parish, 2700 Dwight Way in Berkeley, Calif., with reception to follow. Email LillianChurMemorial@gmail.com for more information. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Newman Hall's Loaves & Fishes program, the Alameda County Community Food Bank or your favorite charity.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased