URBANA — Yoko Muroga (Nakamura), a longtime Urbana resident, passed away peacefully on Sept. 30, 2018, with family present in El Cerrito, Calif.
Mrs. Muroga was born in Toyohashi, Japan, on Oct. 5, 1932. She attended Nihon Joshidai, Japan Women’s University, majoring in child psychology, and had a lifelong love for babies and children.
She married Saburo Muroga in 1956, and moved in 1960 to New York, where Mr. Muroga worked for IBM. They moved to Urbana in 1964, where Mr. Muroga joined the engineering faculty at the University of Illinois. Mrs. Muroga was active in the University of Illinois Women’s Faculty Club and also assisted Prof. Muroga with his work and helping his graduate students get settled in the area.
Mrs. Muroga was always active, volunteering at Yankee Ridge Elementary School library long after her children had grown. She was a talented artist, and volunteered and taught Japanese calligraphy at University of Illinois’ Japan House. She made many lifelong friends and was known for her kindness, generosity and culinary skills.
The Murogas moved to California in 2006 to live closer to family. Mrs. Muroga volunteered at the Lake Park Retirement home shop and on various committees, and brought comfort to those on the nursing floor. She was lovingly cared for at Wagaya, a Japanese-run care home in recent years.
Surviving family are her brother, Naoshi Nakamura of Tokyo, Japan; and her four children and their families, Eisuke Muroga of San Francisco, Edith Muroga Morrow and Guy Morrow of Albany, Calif., and their children, Kaia and Nicholas, Kenji Muroga and Julie Challis of London, and Lisa Muroga Branum and Paul Grammatico of El Cerrito, Calif.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Saburo Muroga; her sister, Takako Uchida; and brother, Eishi Nakamura.
A Buddhist memorial is being planned for family in Japan. Memorial gifts may be made to UIF/Japan House (note: Yoko Muroga Memorial) and sent to Yoko Muroga Memorial Fund, Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL 61820.