Gloria Lynch Uchida

Class of 1963

 
Gloria Lynch Uchida passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, March 2, 2005. Those of us in the Class Of ‘63 for whom Gloria was our Miss Yamato know very well what a wonderful person she was, but as Gloria spent all of her high school years there she also touched the lives of many others with her sweet and generous spirit. Our hearts go out to her mother, Setsuko Lynch, to her husband, Randy Uchida, to her son, Andrew, and to the rest of her family, both here and in Japan.
 

 

Born Hiroko Watanabe on April 22, 1944 in Dairen, Manchuria, she became Gloria Hiroko Lynch upon the marriage in 1952 of her mother, Setsuko, to Edward J. Lynch, an American Department of Defence civilian stationed in Tokyo. As a result of her adoption by Mr. Lynch, Gloria became a U.S. Citixen in 1956 and began attending American overseas schools, starting at Tachikawa Elementary and graduating from Yamato High School in 1963. She became very active in the life of her schools, serving in numerous clubs and committees, in the National Honor Society, and as class president three years in a row. Her intelligence, beauty, charm and all-encompassing friendliness won the hearts of everyone who knew her, and she was elected "Miss Yamato" the year of her graduation.
Gloria earned a B.A. in English from Tokyo's Sacred Heart University in 1967, then came to California where she took a job in San Francisco as a customer relations interpreter for American Airlines. In 1972 she moved to Los Angeles and began work as a secretary for that city's Community Redevelopment Agency. After 27 years she retired as an executive project manager, responsible for the creation and maintenance of many of the institutions -- among them the Japanese-American Community Services Center, hundreds of units of low-cost housing for seniors, the East-West Players and the Japanese-American National Museum -- which now constitute the downtown district of "Little Tokyo" and make it one of the most vibrant and pedestrian-friendly areas of Los Angeles.
In 1978 Gloria married Randy Uchida of Santa Monica, California and they raised an exemplary son, Andrew, who graduated from Claremont-McKenna College in 2002. Gloria was active in the life of her church and her community, serving on the boards of the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church and the Brentwood School. Cancer diagnosed in 1998 made a painful trial of her last years, but she bore them with courage, grace and even cheer, and made it a point of honor to attend the 40th anniversary reunion of her Yamato Class of '63' where she shined brightly amoung her friend of long ago. Her family by her side, Gloria passed away in the early morning hours of March 2, 2005.

However it was that we learned the sad news - black inck on a white page, a telephone call, a message on the screen - we suddenly found our lips pressed tight and our eyes afraid the tears might spill right there in public so that someone had to ask, “ What is the matter? Is something wrong?” How can we explain this mystery? We must answer
that our grief is for a girl no bigger than a peanut who maybe we hadn’t seen in forty years but whose warm and friendly smile from an age gone by seems now always to have been there, a presence over us, hovering in the background of our complicated lives where the past is ever quietly alive no matter how far we think we've come.

Gloria could always see the best in us, and her love for us never feared the loss of our love for her if she had to speak her mind for what she thought was right or true. Her beacons in life were love and honest friendship, and because she was always loyal to them she was always loyal to us, whether we were separated by thousands of miles or merely divided by daily preoccupation with our own paths. Everyone who knew her will be diminished by her passing. We will know that a part of what infuses our memories of Yamato with so much meaning has slipped away, and that without Gloria the world is a more brittle and chilly place.

So, Godspeed, sweet and gentle friend: Our broken hearts are glad that your pain is at an end, but we will miss you more than you, in your true modesty, would ever comprehend.

Pictures provided by Andrew Uchida and text provided by Mike Peterson
Following are from the guest book.............
Entry #: 339
Date: 2005-03-04 17:35:30

Name: Michael Peterson
Comments: It’s with the deepest sorrow that we bring to our Yamato family news that Gloria Lynch Uchida passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, March 2, 2005. Those of us in the Class Of ‘63 for whom Gloria was our Miss Yamato know very well what a wonderful person she was, but as Gloria spent all of her high school years there she also touched the lives of many others with her sweet and generous spirit. Our hearts go out to her mother, Setsuko Lynch, to her husband, Randy Uchida, to her son, Andrew, and to the rest of her family, both here and in Japan.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 12th at 10 a.m. at the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church at 1913 Purdue Avenue in West L. A. It has been arranged that a tribute will be presented at this service on behalf of all of her many Yamato friends. If anyone wishes to send cards or other messages to her family, feel free to contact me by e-mail at mgp90802@yahoo.com for mailing address information.

Entry #: 340
Date: 2005-03-06 04:51:36

Name: Vonnie Hoops-Beattie '60
Comments: Our Hearts…..Are Heavy Today

Yamato Warriors met so long ago at Yamato High School in Japan….and now as this circle of our lives….begins to close…..we all meet once again….as we walk our last mile on this earth. The passing of Gloria Lynch Uchida, on March 2, 2005, has brought a deep sadness to her Yamato family…..proving the special bond we all share.

I met Gloria and her mother for the first time at the 2003 Yamato reunion (Formal Cocktail Party), and I immediately felt her warmth and wonderful personality. We visited for a while, and the three of us took the photo above (MyFamily.com), Carolyn-Hormell 1963/TX, Gloria Lynch-Uchida 1963/CA , and Vonnie Hoops-Beattie 1960/CA. Gloria looked pretty on this evening in her black Oriental blouse accented with a floral design. Gloria was just as beautiful on the inside as well as the outside…..and she touched the lives of everyone she met.

Our hearts go out to her family, and her many friends.

/~~~~~/~~~~~/~~~~~~/

Vonnie Hoops-Beattie (vbeattie3@comcast.net

Entry #: 341
Date: 2005-03-07 14:24:58

Name: Susan Wedow
Comments: Ann Witkind wrote to me about Gloria's passing. This is such a loss to all of us. She was a loving, determined, and radiant person. I hope that I will be able to attend the memorial service in Los Angeles on SAturday. It is about a 2 hour drive from Santa Barbara. Is there a collection being taken for a floral arrangement from class of 63? I would like to contribute to the fund.

All of us who attended the special breakfast in las vegas in 2003 will never forget the dollar origami folded into frogs and the special samurai swords. She was an amazing person that we all got to know for too short a time.

Suzanne

Entry #: 344
Date: 2005-03-09 16:53:05

Name: Michael Peterson
Comments: Many have inquired about what we can do to honor the memory of Gloria Lynch Uchida. Since Gloria’s family has requested that we not send flowers, and because they have a specific plan for a family-based donation to be implemented at a later date, we are essentially left to our own devices in this matter. It’s my personal feeling, therefore, that the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) is the logical charitable organization to consider as the vehicle for paying our respects to Gloria.

I urge everyone to inform themselves about this institution (aoshs.wichita.edu - be sure to watch the video presentation available there; it‘s very edifying). In addition to preserving the history and legacy of the millions of Americans who either attended or taught at these overseas schools, AOSHS recognizes individuals through its program of memorial “bricks” by which a permanent expression of one’s place in this history is maintained. A “brick” for Gloria seems to me to be a fitting tribute. (Though certainly not as deserving of it as she, I fully intend to have one of my own some day - even if I have to pay for the thing myself…) The point is that this is something we can do, it is forever, and it does serve a larger purpose.

This is a brand new idea and details of the means by which we can secure this memorial specifically for Gloria are yet to be worked out, but Marilynn Ayers Taylor (our YHS Librarian “way back when”) has kindly granted to act as a focal point to get us started. Hold onto your (tax-deductible) contributions for the time being, but please contact Marilynn mataylor@gvtc.com">(mataylor@gvtc.com) or myself mgp90802@yahoo.com">(mgp90802@yahoo.com) if you are interested and we’ll soon be able to get the ball rolling.

Entry #: 355
Date: 2005-03-16 11:02:33

Name: Michael Peterson
Comments: GLORIA LYNCH MEMORIAL FUND

A fund is being established with the American Overseas Schools Historical Society in Wichita, Kansas to honor the memory of Gloria Lynch Uchida, Yamato ‘63. The courtyards and walkways at the American Overseas Schools Historical Park feature bricks and paving stones inscribed with the names of students and teachers who have been associated with the American education experience abroad. Proceeds from this project will go toward an endowment for the Park’s beautification program, and toward a scholarship fund benefiting graduates of overseas schools.

This tribute has been initiated by members of the Class Of ‘63, but all of the many others who knew Gloria are invited to participate. With amounts of as little as $10 or $20 we’ll be able to create a lasting memorial to one of Yamato’s most distinguished and well-loved graduates. Marilynn Ayers Taylor has kindly offered to collect and forward our donations to AOSHS; her address is: 130 Serenity Drive, Boerne, TX 78006. Please make your check payable to: AOSHS Memorial Fund. (AOSHS is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation, so your entire gift is tax-deductible.)

If any of you have friends or family who might not look into the YHS Guestbook with any regularity, please pass this information on to them so we can get as much involvement as possible - the greater the total amount we can raise, the larger will be the stone on which to record Gloria’s significance in the collective memory of Yamato.

Entry #: 363
Date: 2005-03-23 15:48:20

Name: Marilynn A. Taylor
Comments: I have received checks for the Gloria Lynch Uchida Memorial Fund that will cover a small brick but we would really like to have the $250 for a larger granite paver. We are half way there. Sent in the bio, picture, and down payment earlier this week. Again my address is 130 Serenity Dr., Boerne, TX 78006. If you have any questions please email me.
Entry #: 364
Date: 2005-03-23 15:53:02

Name: Larry La Chapelle
Comments: Come on class of '63, everybody was touched at some point in time by Gloria, please send Marilynn a check to honor Gloria's memory.
Entry #: 366
Date: 2005-03-23 20:41:00

Name: Neil Alterman
Web Site: Covey House Minis
Comments: This is a tough entry to write. Everybody who ever came in contact with Gloria had nothing but good things to say about her. Consequently a memorial brick at the AOSHS site is a fitting thing to do. But what about all the other Warriors we have lost over the years. Several of the members of the Reunion Committee have discussed this, and we feel that it only fitting we have a Yamato High School Memorial to honor all of our late Warriors. Toward this end we are proposing the following: WEBSITE DUES ARE DUE!!!! We are proposing that a portion of the website dues be sent to Marilyn Taylor to purchase a fitting memorial to all the fallen Warriors. Repeating myself: WEBSITE DUES ARE DUE!!!. I will continue collecting dues and send 15% of all checks I receive for the remainder of 2005 to Marilyn for a Yamato High School memorial. If anyone objects to this, please let me know by private email, directly to me at

naltrmn@ix.netcom.com.

If you wish to add a contribution to your dues check please make sure that I am aware of that also. It would be really nice to have a good size check to present to Marilyn Taylor at the reunion in July.

Entry #: 371
Date: 2005-03-24 20:21:25

Name: Neil Alterman
Web Site: Covey House Minis
Comments: The entry comes by way of an email received by Jeanne Dale from Gloria Uchida. Jeanne wasn't sure how to get it into the guest book, so I am doing it for her. As Jeanne said, hearing about Gloria's problems helped her with her own issues. That's was Gloria was all about. Always there to help.

After graduating fromYamato, I elected to stay in Japan with my family and attended the Univ of the Sacred Heart (Seishin) in Tokyo. Although the dozen or so Americans were middle to upper middle class, the Japanese ladies were from very wealthy, prominent families. Among our graduates is the present Empress of Japan and the sister of Yoko Ono! Initially I was in shock at the discipline and being among so many young women. But , I came to like the school. I graduated in March 1967, and then moved to San Francisco. That was a drastic change...imagine coming from a convent environment and then Berkeley/San Francisco! I worked for American Airlines from 1967 to 1972 as an international rep. I moved down to Southern Calif. in 1972 and was employed by the Community Redevelopment Agency. Twenty-six years later, I retired (after holding eight different jobs) as project manager. I re! tired because my health suddenly turned ugly. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and since the prognosis was not good, the doctors decided to treat me with the most aggressive, difficult treatments, including Stem Cell Transplant. The after effects include kidney failure (I go to dialysis three times a week), weakening heart and lungs. After 3 1/2 years of being cancer-free, we found in August 2001, that the cancer had metastasized to the bone. This time, since the cancer is at a very early stage, the treatments are noninvasive in the form of hormones and bone strengthening.

Well, I've babbled enough. I live in Santa Monica with my husband of 24 years, Randy Uchida. Our son, Andrew, will be graduating from Claremont McKenna College in three weeks. He will take a year off and study for the LSAT and work part-time at a law firm or at a legal center. His goal is to get into law school.

Copy of the email sent to Jeanne Dale.........

----Original Message-----
From: GUCHIDA7@aol.com [mailto:GUCHIDA7@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 8:20 PM
To: jeanne44@houston.rr.com
Cc: GUCHIDA7@aol.com
Subject: Re: Yamato friend

After graduating fromYamato, I elected to stay in Japan with my family and attended the Univ of the Sacred Heart (Seishin) in Tokyo. Although the dozen or so Americans were middle to upper middle class, the Japanese ladies were from very wealthy, prominent families. Among our graduates is the present Empress of Japan and the sister of Yoko Ono! Initially I was in shock at the discipline and being among so many young women. But , I came to like the school. I graduated in March 1967, and then moved to San Francisco. That was a drastic change...imagine coming from a convent environment and then Berkeley/San Francisco! I worked for American Airlines from 1967 to 1972 as an international rep. I moved down to Southern Calif. in 1972 and was employed by the Community Redevelopment Agency. Twenty-six years later, I retired (after holding eight different jobs) as project manager. I re! tired because my health suddenly turned ugly. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and since the prognosis was not good, the doctors decided to treat me with the most aggressive, difficult treatments, including Stem Cell Transplant. The after effects include kidney failure (I go to dialysis three times a week), weakening heart and lungs. After 3 1/2 years of being cancer-free, we found in August 2001, that the cancer had metastasized to the bone. This time, since the cancer is at a very early stage, the treatments are noninvasive in the form of hormones and bone strengthening.

Well, I've babbled enough. I live in Santa Monica with my husband of 24 years, Randy Uchida. Our son, Andrew, will be graduating from Claremont McKenna College in three weeks. He will take a year off and study for the LSAT and work part-time at a law firm or at a legal center. His goal is to get into law school.

Tell me about yourself and your family. Keep in touch!

~ Gloria Lynch Uchida

 

I knew Gloria from Tachikawa Elementary School. I guess I was one of the few who was blessed with growing up with her because unlike many of the other students who rotated out, my parents remained at Tachi. I am sad that I did not keep in touch with her after I left Yamato. Making this memorial page for Gloria has brightened my day as she always did in the past. I hope you enjoy reading the comments and especially what Mike Peterson has provided. If you have any additional information, photos or comments you would like to add. Please send them to me.

Daniel Iki class of '63 (send info to ........ iki@yamatohs.com or danieliki@yahoo.com

 

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