CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The anecdotes that friends and co-workers shared about June Takizawa during her memorial service were all about how selfless and eager she was to help those around her.
“She was generous to a fault, and always put other people’s needs in front of her own,” said Dale Jorgenson while speaking at Thursday’s service at the Camp Zama Chapel.
Jorgenson, the manager of the Camp Zama Golf Course, went on to list several examples of when June, who had served as the course’s recreation assistant since 2015, went out of her way to help him, such as arranging to have furniture delivered to his house, taking his car to get new tires put on, and making sure everyone on the staff got a snack from the gift baskets that course members would often send.
June “just took care of people,” Jorgenson said, all the way up until her death Dec. 30, 2023, at the age of 64. The number of friends, family and co-workers who attended both her memorial, and her wake the previous weekend, served as a testament to the impact she had on people’s lives, he said.
“I know for sure my life is better for having known her, and we will all miss her, every day,” Jorgenson said.
June’s connection to Camp Zama goes back to when she attended, and graduated from, the installation’s then-Zama High School in the late 1970s. While a student, she got a job working at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan Engineer District before and after school.
After graduation, June attended college at San Jose State University in California where she met her future husband, Shigeki. The two returned to Japan after the birth of their son, Hiroshi. Their daughter, Shiho, was born a few years later.
June had various jobs in Japan in the following years, including teaching English and running her own business as an auto exporter, before being hired at the Camp Zama Child Development Center in 2011. She moved to the golf course four years later, where her duties as the recreation assistant eventually included keeping the paperwork for the club’s honorary members organized and up to date.
Ron Nichols, the assistant golf course manager, said there were no words to express how it felt to lose his good friend whom he sat next to at work for the last six years. Like Jorgenson, Nichols said that what he’ll remember most about June was her unwavering eagerness to help others.
“I don’t believe I ever heard June say ‘No,’ ever, on requests for help, from anyone,” he said. “She was always there; it didn’t make any difference [what you needed].”
Col. Marcus Hunter, the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, thanked those who came to the memorial to honor and celebrate June’s life while acknowledging the difficulty of dealing with such a sudden loss.
“Although we will miss her positive attitude [and] her smiling face, of course we will always recall the memories of good times spent together,” Hunter said. “June’s long history here at Camp Zama is truly an inspiration of service. She had a great and positive impact on countless members of our community.”
The garrison commander said that reflecting on the loss of a friend or loved one should generate a sense of gratitude for the goodness of one’s blessings and inspire in them a desire to do good and to serve and lift others. June possessed both these qualities, he said.
“[She was] incredibly grateful, and incredibly engaged in service in all that she did,” he said. “We remember June, and we strive to follow her example of service and kindness in all that we do.”