Yasuko Joichi

We are saddened to learn that Yasuko Joichi passed away on December 28, 2011. A memorial service is planned as follows:

Saturday, January 07, 2012
3:00 p.m.—03:45 p.m.
St. James the Less Episcopal Church
550 Sunset Ridge Road
Northfield, Il 60093

Mrs. Joichi was a beloved Suzuki Piano Teacher and SAA Teacher Trainer. She served on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago, worked on the Suzuki Piano repertoire revisions committee and taught at many institutes and workshops. For the past few years, health issues had limited her activities.

Yasuko Joichi’s warmth, kindness and enthusiasm for teaching will be greatly missed.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, her family has requested gifts to a charity or organization of your choice.

Yasuko S. Joichi

Oct. 1, 1945—Dec. 28, 2011

Born in 1945 in Kyoto, Japan, Yasuko became the fourth child of Hideo and Iwae Segawa. Rather unusual for the time, both of her parents had gone to theological seminary school, and although their training was just short of ordination, they each preached to their respective congregations. Lively debates and conversations with missionaries and Buddhist friends filled her youth and undoubtedly left an indelible impression on her.

In 1968, already an adventuresome traveler, she crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed in Evanston, Illinois, for graduate school at Northwestern University where she majored in piano performance. Shortly thereafter she met her husband, Max, while Christmas caroling at a church in Chicago. By 1970, her only daughter, Janet, was born.

During the next few decades, Yasuko’s days were filled with much musical activity. She played organ in churches, gave recitals, and was active in many music teachers organizations. From 1977 to 1979, even the entire family gave Sunday Afternoon Concerts at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois.

Always a teacher at heart since her teenage years in Japan, she taught piano her entire life until a stroke in December 2008. Most recently she taught piano at the Music Institute of Chicago and at Elmhurst College preparatory and college departments. Previously, she taught at Wheaton College preparatory school and privately at home. Perhaps central to her music teaching career was encountering the Suzuki Method in 1975, an approach to music instruction that she tried first with her daughter. She eventually became a teacher-trainer in Suzuki Piano and traveled worldwide as an instructor at institutes and conferences.

All of that traveling was hard to give up, and she continued her travels most recently to Europe, Central America, and Asia until 2008. If it were not for her stroke, she would have volunteered again in Costa Rica with Cross Cultural Solutions.

Her love for dogs and many furry creatures could be seen by all. Pictures adorned the walls and cabinets of her piano studios and even refrigerator at home. Her laugh was infections as was her charm with young students. In the past few years, she enjoyed visits from her grandson and followed her physical therapy and speech therapy exercises diligently. Unfortunately, her heart was not strong enough to continue her lifelong adventure. In memory of a life fully lived, let us wish her peace.

-Marilyn Andersen

Nightingale Chen and Yasuko Joichi

Nightingale Chen and Yasuko Joichi, Thanksgiving 2010

Image by Dr. John Chen