Jean Okamura

My name is Sachiko Jean Okamura née Miyasaki. I was born in 1938 in Abbotsford, BC. My parents, Mitsuye and Saijiro Miyasaki, were berry farmers.  They had 36 acres of land in Mount Lehman on Dennison Road, 25 acres under cultivation at the time of the evacuation. They were forcibly removed to Dufrost, Manitoba to work on a sugar beet farm on April 20, 1942, after their farm was confiscated.

I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I wanted to go to university but because my parents were old, they couldn't afford to send me. They needed me to work. I became a secretary in the Engineering Department at Manitoba Hydro where I met my husband Yukio (Duke). He was a mechanical engineer.  We married in 1961.

My husband was Project Manager on several different power plant projects built in northern Manitoba. We lived in Grand Rapids for two years but the rest of the time we lived in Winnipeg until the children completed their schooling. I had five children, Jeffrey, Wayne, Janice, Dean and Derek. It was a busy time in our household growing up.  Dean worked in banking and the other four are dentists. Sadly, Dean passed away last year (2020).

When my husband retired, we decided we would move to Vancouver because all our kids had moved this way. My husband said, “We'll go home”. We came to live in Vancouver in 1995.