OKIMOTO, TAEKO
Taeko Okimoto was born on October 30, 1916 in Tokyo, Japan, to Tosaji and Suzuko Obara. Her father, a renowned minister in Japanese Christian circle, was pastor of the Yodobashi Christian Church in Tokyo. Her mother, who was saved through the influential ministry Tetsusaburo Sasao, attended the Kashiwagi Seisho Gakuin (now the Tokyo Biblical Seminary).

Taeko was the first of eleven children, including one brother who died at infancy. Six of her sisters survive today: five are ordained ministers, while one is a minister’s wife. Taeko graduated from Aoyama Jogakuin in 1933, and Tsudajuku University in 1936. She matriculated at Taylor University in Indiana in 1936, receiving her bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in history in 1939. She received her master of theology degree a year later. Taeko gave two reasons for studying English and theology: firstly, to be a translator at her father’s church; and secondly, to study the Bible more.

During World War II, while Taeko’s father was in jail for two years in Japan due to his faith in Christ, the members of the church were dispersed. After the war, Taeko helped rebuild the Yodobashi Church with her family, and she began pioneer work in Shiki, Saitama-ken, at the same time. She also taught at Aoyama Jogakuin for three years until 1.952. That year she attended the World Council of Churches conclave as a representative from the churches in Japan. She continued her ministry at the Shiki Church until her marriage to Tameichi Okimoto on June 10, 1957, and her return once again to the United States.

Taeko served with her husband at the San Fernando Church from 1958 to 1961 and at the Monrovia Church from 1961 to 1965. In 1962, she became the bilingual pastor of the church and enjoyed a fruitful two year ministry. It is notable that she has been the only ordained woman minister in the history of our Conference. After her husband’s resignation, in 1968 she and her husband were asked to start services in Whittier. The work became known as the Whittier Community Christian Church in 1969.

Upon the death of her husband in 1969, Taeko was asked to carry on the work of the church. She continued to serve until her retirement at the end of 1987. She is currently living at the Keiro Retirement Home in Boyle Heights and continues to attend the Whittier Church.


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