OKIMOTO, TAMEICHI
Tameichi Okimoto was born in a strict soldier’s home in Yamaguchi-ken on September 21, 1904. An only child, he was raised in both Taiwan and Korea. Disliking farm life in Yamaguchi-ken, Okimoto went to Tokyo, but life there did not satisfy him either. Adding to his suffering, he contracted tuberculosis. Not knowing where to turn, he went to a Christian church where he came under the influence of a loving and caring missionary. As a result, Okimoto decided to become a minister and went to seminary in Tokyo. At school, Okimoto met Kirie Kumagai, whom he married after graduation. Kirie, the sixth child in her family, had been born in Fukuoka, Kyushu. Although she had been raised on a farm, she had gone to college and become a teacher.

In 1937, the OMS asked Tameichi if he could work among Japanese-Americans. That year, he and his wife and their two children came to the United States for his first assignment at the San Diego Holiness Church. He led the church in acquiring a permanent church building.

With the outbreak of World War II, the Okimoto family was sent first to the Santa Anita Assembly Center and then to the Poston Relocation Center in Arizona. There Tameichi was assigned as a pastor in Camp III, and he also continued publishing the Reisei.

After the war, Okimoto returned from the camp to San Diego. He served there briefly, until he was transferred to the San Lorenzo Holiness Church in 1946, succeeding Eiji Suchiro. Okimoto not only pastored the San Lorenzo Church, but also helped in the pioneer work of both the Mountain View and Campbell Churches. He served the San Lorenzo Church for eight years and then was assigned to both the San Fernando and the Azusa Holiness Churches in 1954. He then pastored at the San Fernando Church from 1954 to 1965, while serving simultaneously at the Monrovia Church from 1954 to 1955 and again from 1958 to 1965. In 1956, Kirie died of cancer.

In 1965, Okimoto resigned from the Holiness Conference. While serving at the Whittier Community Christian Church, he met an untimely death in 1969. Four children survive Tameichi and Kirie Okimoto: Paul, Ruth, Joseph and Daniel.

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