in Hawaii
Jessica Keiko Kawasuna Saiki
  • 85 years old
  • Date of birth: Aug 29, 1928
  • Place of birth:
    Hilo, Hawaii, United States
  • Date of passing: Feb 21, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Sherman Oaks, California, United States
Artist, author and poet, soprano vocalist who also played the harp, piano and composed choral music.

This website was created in celebration and memory of our loved one, Jessica Keiko Kawasuna Saiki, 85, born on August 29, 1928 and passed away on February 21, 2014. Please share your memories, annecdotes and experiences, remembrances, and lessons learned that add to the legacy Jessica leaves behind.

3/22/15 update: We have renewed this memorial website page forever as a lasting tribute to the memory and accomplishments of our mother. We miss her greatly but Jessica lives on in our hearts and minds thanks to a wealth of experiences shared and lessons learned from her. We hope you will continue to post your thoughts and photos with us. Thank you.

With love and appreciation,
from the children of Jessica Keiko Kawasuna Saiki

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Carolyn Urquidez on 22nd February 2016

"Jesse, my heart will always be filled with gratitude,  in spending time with me and my studies sessions.  You were a great teacher and the way you taught is something I use even today as I continue my work.  Thank You Jessie for just taking the time with me, miss you dearly."

This tribute was added by April de Roin on 31st August 2015

"Thank you so much for sharing this memorial.  Your mom was a dignified, creative, and most gentle soul.   I am sure she is sorely missed by all - those close to her and those touched by her art, music, and writing who never knew her.  What a wonderful life to celebrate!

I remember a Christmas when her plans to go to California fell through and she ended up with us for a traditional Greek dinner.  I'm sure it wasn't what she was used to, but she was a good sport about it.

My prayers are with you all."

This tribute was added by Lorel Keiko Saiki on 29th August 2015

"Happy Birthday Mom! Thinking of you on your birthday and miss celebrating together. With much love, your daughter Lorel"

This tribute was added by Ellen Klaus on 5th May 2015

"Hello from Watertown, Wisconsin, where I was happy to have met your mother several times in the 1980's.  I purchased two of her prints and gave one to my niece when she had her daughter in the early 2000's, along with a book of Jessie's short stories..  I have kept the other print, a boy and dog, for the right occasion and that has arrived.  My oldest son and wife are expecting a son in September and I am delighted to give them the Jessie Saiki print.  Now I shall search on-line for a book.  So nice to have found this site. Her poetry and prints were a delight."

This tribute was added by Lorel Keiko Saiki on 22nd March 2015

"Mom, I know it's been over a year and I still have lots of wonderful family photos that Jacque Weber sent to us plus pages from Aunty Alice Nakahara's photo albums. Jennifer and I photographed some of the pages when we were in Hawaii for your memorial services last August. There are 4+ photos per page that need to be individually cropped and color corrected, but will upload them when I can. Great stuff from your growing up days. Miss you!"

This tribute was added by Cheryl Bogler on 21st September 2014

"I never met Jessica but I feel as if I knew a little bit of her through her art and short stories that Jennifer so kindly shared with me.  I know she was a very special person to raise such a wonderful daughter as Jennifer.  May her family and friends abide in her presence found in her lovely and loving art and words."

This tribute was added by aimee oesterly on 31st August 2014

"I will miss a truly gifted artist and Aunt - from hand making batiks, tile making, paintings involving into abstracts, writing music and playing the harp, writing novels and especially exploring all your natural creative talents to the fullest. You have lived.
Aloha Oe- till we meet again."

This tribute was added by mike nakahara on 29th August 2014

"Aloha Aunt Jesse. Enjoyed welcoming you back to Hilo last week.  Mahalo to you and your wonderful family."

This tribute was added by Suzanne Santia-Gorham on 21st June 2014

"Jennifer, Mike, and Nathan,
Thank you for sharing your mother/grandmother's story with us.  What an amazing artist; her paintings are absolutely beautiful!  Very inspirational and a reminder to all of us to live life to the fullest each and every day.
Suzanne- neighbor, Orinda, CA."

This tribute was added by Susan & Bob Christiansen on 23rd April 2014

"We have fond memories of Jessie in Golden, Colorado…..and beautiful church bouquets, shared art especially……and friendship.   Our appreciation for being a part of her life.  Our admiration for the family bonds and love,   for their fine record of that family and their lives, particularly the memorial record of Jessie's writing and wonderful wonderful artwork!"

This tribute was added by Harriet Strand on 10th April 2014

"I met Jesse in Golden, Colorado when our families were very young.  We were attending the same church and I was so impressed with her singing in the choir.  Then I saw some of her beautiful paintings and was amazed that one lovely little lady had so much talent.  We kept in touch over the many years, sharing news of our families and lives. I was so sorry to hear of her passing and feel deeply the loss of a very special friend."

This tribute was added by Alex andAnnie on 8th April 2014

"Our condolences Jennifer.  
Although we've never met your mother, her talents and impressive character show through her children."

This tribute was added by shirley renyer on 5th April 2014

""What a talented lady!  We were privileged to share in some of her family's get-togethers over the years, including Neal and Lisa's marriage in Hilo.  Our loving memories are sent to all of the Saiki family.  Bernard and Shirley Renyer of Manhattan Beach, CA"

This tribute was added by Mary Beth Ursem on 3rd April 2014

"Sending love and comfort to you and your family, Jennifer! From Don and Mary Beth"

This tribute was added by Constance Mooney on 31st March 2014

"Although I did not ever meet her, I know her beautiful life lives on in her daughter Jennifer, Nate her grandson and son in law Mike.  Knowing them has given me the opportunity to know Jesse."

This tribute was added by Ed Yorba Linda on 29th March 2014

"I knew you as one of the the top students of the high school class of '45 at Mid-Pacific Institute.  sorry we didn't get together her more often after graduation since everybody went their separate ways to get further educated and work to earn a living and raise a family.  In Heaven shall we meet again.  Aloha Jessie."

This tribute was added by Edwin AIEA SCHOOL on 28th March 2014

"Although we were classmates in high school I never got to know Jessica that well.  I remember her as being  a very attractive, scholarly
person with a beautiful smile.  Rest well, Jessica, in the arms of our gentle Father."

This tribute was added by Jennifer Evans on 25th March 2014

"(Excerpts from my 1988 Freshman English Paper on Jessie Saiki)
Late into the evening hours after the dinner dishes are washed and dried, the children are in bed and the house is settled in for the night, she begins a new episode in a book of tales larger than life, beyond her scope of vision as housewife and mother. The English major consumes novels with a feverous energy. These books journey readers somewhere beyond reality, and the escape bring her closer to the "Walden" that she's always dreamt of. On her nightstand lays a dictionary and a pad of paper used to record new words that pass her way.  As a married woman and mother of four she has traveled the familiar road of family living.  Maybe that's the reason that she finds time to paint, it is an abstract impression of what things could be and not as everyone else sees them.
      Fast forward to 2014, I am bed side watching and observing my mother as she waits to walk with the Lord.  She leaves us with a legacy of purpose having survived an intense battle with metastatic breast cancer 27 years ago.  As an author, artist, singer, songwriter, composer, humanitarian and mother, I reflect in awe how she has lived life to the fullest in her golden years.  It has been a blessing to have known her and it will be an honor to bid her aloha and goodbye per her wish for her children to accompany her home and sprinkle her ashes in Hilo."

This tribute was added by Becky Christianson on 24th March 2014

"I have so many fond memories of our friendship that started in Watertown, WI.  You were a brilliant artist, writer and insightful reader. You gave me gifts that are still with me today.  Bless you and your family with peace.  Thank you for your great beauty and inspiration. I will honor you, always. Love, Becky"

This tribute was added by Sandy Rogers on 24th March 2014

"A beautiful, talented woman with an extraordinarily loving family. My thoughts are with you."

This tribute was added by Dana Anderson on 24th March 2014

"Jesse was an extraordinary person. I wish I could have known her better but I'm grateful for the time that we did have as I was always impressed by her grace and wisdom."

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This memorial is administered by:

Lorel Keiko Saiki


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