Mary Kayoko Kawata
Mary Kayoko Kawata, 96, of New York City, N.Y. and Amelia Island, Fla., was welcomed into Heaven on Friday, November 30, 2018.
Mary was born December 2, 1921 in Riverside, Calif. to Mitose and Hisao Shimizu. Her early years were spent in California, Japan, and Shanghai, China. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Kobe College in Japan. Mary worked for the YMCA in New York City before marrying her beloved husband, George, and raising a family in New York. While her husband pursued a career as an international economist and consultant, Mary used her degree to teach Sunday school. She took classes at the New York Fashion Institute, studied interior design at Marymount College, and studied oil painting at the New York National Academy and The Art Students League of New York, becoming a life member. A longtime resident of New York City, she also lived in Rome, Italy and Locust Valley, N.Y., and traveled extensively.
Mary’s life was defined by Christ and Christianity. A “preacher’s kid,” she was born to Christian missionaries. As a child, she attended the New England-style church her father funded and built in Japan. As an adult, she was a longtime, devoted member of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, and more recently attended Tim Keller’s Redeemer Church in New York. When on Amelia Island, she often visited First Presbyterian Church, and then found her church home at Amelia Baptist. She was a member of Community Bible Study of Amelia Island and loved her Sisters in Christ at CBS. She also loved her friends at the Golfside Bible Study and her Amelia Baptist Church family. She always talked about how God’s Grace, Love, Kindness and Protection had followed her and her family throughout life. She sought to share His love through personal ministry, hosting missionaries and strangers, playing the piano and serving at church, generously supporting many ministries, volunteering at Hope House, Relay for Life and whatever the Lord put before her. She enjoyed a life of international travel, and wherever she went, Mary said, she would find a church and “be home.”
Family was Mary’s top priority after her God. She was a dedicated and sacrificial mother to her two girls, Claudia and Emily. She loved unconditionally her son-in-law, Peter; grandson-in-law AJ; grandchildren Mika, Geo, and Grace; and her great-granddaughter, Paloma. She was so proud of them all.
Mary was predeceased by her husband, George, and son-in-law, Peter Roux. She is survived by her daughters, Claudia Kawata Roux of Norwalk, Conn., and Emily Kawata Kunzelmann of Amelia Island; granddaughter, Anna Mika Roux of Chicago, Ill.; grandson, George Christian Roux of Washington, D.C.; granddaughter, Georgia Grace Kunzelmann Pendleton; grandson-in-law, Austin Jared Pendleton; and great-granddaughter, Paloma Rose Pendleton of Greenwich, Conn.
A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, December 15, 2018 at Amelia Baptist Church with the Reverend Dr. Harold Neil Helton officiating. The family will greet friends immediately following the service. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Noroton Presbyterian Church in Darien, Conn.
In honor of Mary’s love for God, music, and her Amelia Baptist family, in lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Amelia Baptist Church’s music programs at 961167 Buccaneer Trail, Amelia Island, FL 32034 or https://ameliabaptist.org/giving-portal.