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June 16, 1931 ~ November 10, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old
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Grace Miyoko Mekaru, 92, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, peacefully passed away on Friday, November 10, 2023, surrounded by her family. Grace is remembered for her fierce heart that she brought to everyone she loved and everything she did.
Grace was born on June 16, 1931, and was the fourth of eight children. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, she graduated from Farrington High School and attended business school. Grace became a Mekaru in 1952 through love and commitment with her husband, Toshio, and they shared 71 years together. Grace loved to dance, listen to traditional Okinawan music, and spend time with friends and family, especially her four sisters.
Grace’s stout independence gave her the strength to uproot her life. In 1957, Grace left Hawaii, the only place she’d known, and moved to Michigan with Toshio and their young child. Together, Grace and her husband raised three children who strove to make her proud. The family moved to numerous places from Michigan to upstate New York, Ohio, and then back to Michigan. After every move, Grace filled the home with her love that was expressed with excellent meals, handmade clothes, and a bounty of baking. The smell of baking bread, cakes, and cookies filled the house and our hearts. Grace made herself the center of gravity to pull the family together for any occasion. Travel, golfing, playing games – especially cards, were just other ways to spend time with Toshio and her family. As a Grandma, she played make-believe, cheered at sporting events, gushed at band concerts and dance recitals – maybe with a little envy. Grandma always wanted to babysit.
Grace was an extraordinary worker who had her first job when she was 10 years old. Work garnered Grace success, fulfillment, and respect. Her work in her father’s bakery was another expression of her commitment to family. She made her mark with 25 years of service as the Periodicals Librarian and Office Manager at Capital University Law School Library, in Columbus, Ohio. Grace had a natural talent for finances, managing people, and was highly respected for her work at the Library.
Grace is loved and missed by her husband, Toshio; her children Michael (Chris), Michi (Michael) Durkop, and Daniel (Sheryl); her grandchildren Elizabeth, Timothy (Katie), Steven, Jennifer, Kevin (Audrey), Christopher, and Isaac; and is great grandma to Owen and Madeleine. She is also cherished by her sisters: Beatrice (Walter deceased) Takara, and Vicky (Ronald deceased) Martin; and dozens of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, friends, and those whose lives she touched. We look forward to Grace being embraced in heaven by her parents Chosei and Kukame Zukeran, siblings-Robert (Lillian) Zukeran, Kay (Raymond) Uehara, Vivian (Ronald) Ichimura, Fredrick Zukeran, and Isaac Zukeran.
Private family funeral service will be held early next month. Celebration of life to be announced later.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Beacon Hill Foundation, Grand Rapids, MI in memory of Grace Mekaru.