A tribute to Chieko Okazaki: a sister, in wisdom and kindness
Sister Chieko Okazaki was an inspiration to me in several ways. Sharing the background of being an educator, I admired her level of excellence and her high expectations from those she taught, but at the same time doing so with much love, humor, and patient understanding. Sister Okazaki often taught us from a minority view, having experienced prejudice in her life. But her viewpoint was sometimes that of the minority as well. She was sometimes outspoken and did not always give the standard reply, but rather was not afraid to have a differing opinion from the majority. But her teachings were always couched in wisdom and kindness.
She was a petite woman, but commanded a tall stature when addressing an audience. Her Asian beauty was striking and her carefully-chosen suits and meticulously coiffed hair were in contrast to the day I saw her buying a pair of jeans in ZCMI. But, alas, she was as careful in her choice of denim as she obviously was in her choice of conference clothing.
Chieko Okazaki experienced tragedy in her life in the loss of her beloved husband. I, too, went through the loss of a dear one and her experiences and her teachings were helpful to me as I reached out for comfort during those trying times. She taught of hope and faith. She raised our sights to better places. She was a wonderful person to call “Sister”.