WATERTOWN, NY — Miyako Y. Tanabe, 85, Watertown, NY, passed away May 15, 2022.
Born in 1936 in Hawaii, daughter of Naoichi and Tama Yahata, Miyako graduated in 1954 from Honokaa High School. She was the first in her family to attend college, completing a bachelor’s degree in History from Baker College in Baldwin City, Kansas, as well as a certificate in physical therapy from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Miyako joined the Air Force and served as a physical therapist at the Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Following her service in the military she continued her career as a physical therapist in Maryland in 1968, where she worked in various hospital and nursing home settings and even ran her own private practice for a few years. She retired in 2000 and later moved to Watertown in 2016 to be closer to family.
A marriage to Frazier “Steve” Newell in 1962 ended in divorce. She then married Harry Tanabe in 2001 in Oakland, California. She and Harry resided in San Lorenzo, California and Maryland throughout the years until he passed away in 2009.
Miyako enjoyed traveling with friends, reading, and dancing. For a number of years, she studied hula dancing and took lessons on the hammer dulcimer. She was a proud member of the American Legion and the Japanese American Veterans Association, and she was an active member of the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Waldorf, Maryland and Asbury United Methodist Church in Watertown, New York.
Among her survivors are her daughter and son in law, Miyako and Steven Schanely; two grandchildren, Michael Schanely and his companion Ambur Misercola and Teresa Schanely; stepchildren Christine, David, Brian, Elaine, Andrew and Kathleen Tanabe; a sister, Asako Teves; and many nieces and nephews.
Arrangements are with the Hart & Bruce Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life will be held 1 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at Asbury United Methodist Church, followed by military honors.
She will be laid to rest at Memorial Woods at Big Moose Community Chapel in June.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her memory to Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St., Watertown, NY 13601.
Online condolences may be made at www.hartandbrucefh.com.