June Yusa has been a member of Mountain View Buddhist Temple since 1976. June is the youngest of eleven children of Issei parents. The family lived in various locations in Central California and other states.
June met Henry (Hank) Yusa at her dad’s funeral in the 1950s. Hank was a friend and co-worker of June’s brother Bill, so he attended the funeral out of respect for Bill. At the time, June was in high school and Hank was significantly older. After graduating from high school in Idaho, June moved to the Los Angeles area and lived with one of her sisters. Hank also lived in Los Angeles for several years at one point. They were married in the late 1960s in Elko, NV.
Her daughter Tamié lives in Southern California with her husband, Norman Ogawa. June’s “grandpets” are two cats, a dog and a bird.
Over the years, June has had various jobs serving the public. She worked at a bank when she lived in Los Angeles. When the family lived in Chicago, she worked at Harris Bank. One of the perks of working at a bank were enjoyed by June’s nieces and nephews who would always look forward to receiving birthday cards from Aunt June because they knew it would contain a brand new, crisp one-dollar bill – and sometimes even a two-dollar bill!
The family later moved to Mountain View, CA, where June worked at Matsuri Gifts in San Antonio Shopping Center and then Macy’s Sunnyvale for almost 40 years before retiring. She was among some of the first people hired when this Macy’s opened.
Hank was in the science field. He and his best friend, Mike, were among the workers who helped build the railroad by Donner Pass in California. Hank along with June’s brother Bill also helped build the John Hancock Tower in Chicago. Hank later worked various jobs when he lived in Los Angeles. He passed away in January 1998.
Memories of Dad
Tamié remembers “In my dad’s later years, he took an interest in driving to various locations for vacation. One year our family drove to Chicago to visit Bill, his family, other relatives and friends. It was our first time back since moving away. We visited relatives and friends in Los Angeles, Idaho and the Sacramento area. We saw many places, including the Southwest, Amache (where June and her family were interned during WWII) and the famed St. Louis Arch. In Chicago, we were able to attend the Midwest Buddhist Temple’s Ginza Festival. Another year, we drove through western Canada and saw places such as Vancouver, Victoria, Banff, Calgary and Edmonton.”
Among June’s fondest memories at MVBT were the outings with the senior group to Reno and other places. Chuck Uyeda remembers that “June was always happy to hear that the Senior Activities Group has a trip planned and made a real effort to join us. It didn’t matter whether it was our biannual overnight bus trips to Reno or a day trip to a local casino or to historical landmarks such as Angel Island, the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony or the tour of Rev. Kubose’s Bright Dawn Center in Coarsegold. June was also very helpful during these outings when we made our rest or refreshment stops along the way.”
June has been active in BWA activities. Eileen Fujikawa says that “June was always there to help and did what nobody else wanted to do! She did it quietly without monku or fanfare, usually staying in the background and never taking the spotlight. June would be the dishwasher at cooking events, including Obon, the toughest job of all! During Dharma Services, she always sat in the last row at the Temple, blending in with her “old” friends, so she wouldn’t be noticed.”
Rev. LaVerne Sasaki, former Mountain View Buddhist Temple resident minister, was an important person to the Yusas. He helped guide them through teachings of Shinran Shonin. Coincidentally, Rev. Sasaki grew up with Hank in Penryn, CA.
Staying with Family
June is currently staying with Tamié and Norman in Southern California. We look forward to her return to Mountain View and wish her a safe and healthy 2022.
Namo Amida Butsu —
With Kindness and Gratitude beyond words.