Celebrating the life of Miyoko Umeno Prych
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(1942 – 2021)
Miyoko Umeno Prych, age 78, passed away on January 12, 2021, in her home in Spokane Valley, Washington, in the accompaniment of Edmund A. Prych, her husband of 48 years. Miyoko was born to the late Moichi and Kyoko (Kawai) Umeno on November 7, 1942, in Iwadeyama, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. She is survived by her husband; two daughters and their husbands, Mizu A. and Bryan T. Howell, and Nami S. and Brian J. Meier; four grandsons, Bolivar “Bo” and Brogan Howell, and Toby and Koji Meier, all in Spokane; two sisters, Emiko Watanabe and Yoko Umeno, and a brother and his wife, Shigeru and Yuko Umeno, all in Tokyo, Japan. She is also survived by two brothers-in-law, Raymond E. Prych, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and William M. Mackechnie in Boca Raton, Florida; four nieces, Yumiko Watanabe in Toyko, Doreen Clancy in Boca Raton, Theresa Manthripragada in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Anne Morano in Enfield, Connecticut; and three nephews, Kota Watanabe and Hiroyuki Watanabe in Tokyo, and Jude Prych in Carlsbad, California. She was predeceased by a brother-in-law, Katsuya Watanabe of Tokyo, and two sisters-in-law, Elaine (Prych) Mackechnie of Boca Raton, and Sandra (Ogorzalec) Prych, of Holyoke.
Miyoko was educated in public schools in Japan and graduated from the First Girls’ High School, Miyagi Prefecture, in 1961. While in high school she corresponded with a penpal, Elford H. Messer, in South Portland, Maine, who with his wife Louise Messer arranged for her to repeat her senior year at South Portland High School while living with them and their three children, Ann, Barbara and Thomas. After graduating from South Portland High in June 1962 she was able attend Portland Community College and the University of Maine in Orono on scholarships that were arranged with the assistance of the Messers. While attending the university she lived in the home of Herbert (Spike) and Eleanor Leonard, and their daughter Charlene. Miyoko kept in touch with Barbara (Guimond) and Charlene (Nordstrom) throughout the remainder of her life and thought of them as sisters. After graduating with a degree in mathematics she worked for a short time as a computer programmer at Harvard University before returning to Japan. There she was employed by Kjellberg Successors, a Swedish trading company, and transferred to the company’s Stockholm office in 1971. When in Stockholm she enrolled in a Swedish-language evening course where she met her future husband Edmund. They were married in Stockholm City Hall on June 3, 1972 and then spent four months touring Europe by car, camping all the while. They then returned to the United States and settled in Tacoma, Washington, where they lived for 35 years. In 2008, when they recognized that Miyoko had dementia and it was worsening, they moved to Spokane Valley to be near their daughters and their families.
Miyoko loved children (especially her grandsons), traveling, sewing, cooking, reading and roses. Her death was a result of severe dementia. During her final days, in spite of her reduced mental capacity, her daughters, Mizu and Nami, and her caregiver, Patricia J. Chain, made sure that Miyoko knew that she was loved. Miyoko’s body will be cremated, and this summer her remains will be scattered at one of her favorite places.
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