MARY TANIKUNI OBITUARY: March 10, 1929 – August 12, 2021
Mary Uriko Tanikuni, a member of the Greatest Generation, died August 12, 2021 in Meridian, Idaho at age 92. Mary was born in Glenns Ferry March 10, 1929, to James Mitsugi Itano and Masuno (Kashino) Itano. The family later moved to the Treasure Valley; farmed in Marsing and finally settled near Wilder.
The Great Depression and World War II comprised Mary’s formative years. Her father, James, died as a result of a farming accident in 1942. These events created the strong work ethic and determination she demonstrated during her lifetime.
Mary graduated with the Homedale High School Class of 1947. The class motto was “the door to success is labeled PUSH”. She remained friends with many of her classmates throughout her life. Like many of them, Mary began her young adulthood with almost nothing. And, like most of the Greatest Generation, created a happy, productive and successful life through hard work, perseverance and pushing through life’s many obstacles. She and millions like her quietly built the country most take for granted today.
After high school, Mary attended Nampa Business College for one year, and in 1948 began work as a secretary/bookkeeper at an advertising and sign company in Nampa. In 1950 she married Frank Shigenobu Tanikuni and moved to a farm in the Mule Springs area southwest of Homedale. A son, Dennis, was born in 1951 and a second son, Gary, in 1953. Frank and Mary resided at the farm until 2000, when they moved to Nampa, where they had built a home.
Mary became a full-time homemaker after marriage and acted as caregiver for Frank’s aging step-father and mother, Roy and Tome’ Aoyagi. She was a strong supporter of Dennis and Gary’s school and extracurricular activities and was involved in the Homedale PTA for many years. Mary bowled in a number of leagues and achieved “Gutter Gussie” status on at least one occasion. She greatly enjoyed playing golf at Purple Sage Golf Course with her good friend Sachi Kubosumi. In 1969, Frank and she began their cabin project near Sumpter, Oregon, which consumed the better part of the next 20 years. She was an enthusiastic baseball fan, although a different favorite team seemed to be chosen each season. Mary also liked Big Band music and 80’s country, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, the Oak Ridge Boys and especially, Alabama. Crafts of all sorts were Mary’s primary hobby. She enjoyed pottery, embroidery, knitting, tatting and needlepoint. Bunka, Japanese needlepoint, was a particular favorite.
After an aortic valve replacement, 2 knee replacements and when she could no longer drive, Mary decided to enter an assisted living community in Boise. On November 10, 2010, Mary and Muffin, her miniature Beagle attack dog, relocated to Grace at Englefield Green. Afternoon bingo was something Mary looked forward to and she really enjoyed winning. She kept her Nampa house as an investment property and as recently as two weeks before her passing was proud that she “owned her own home, had money in the bank and was still paying her own way at 92 years old”.
The last months of Mary’s life were difficult. In December 2020 she tested positive for Covid 19 but survived after experiencing surprisingly mild symptoms. Diabetic related complications followed in March 2021. Recovery from those was slow, but she gradually regained physical strength and mental acuity. On June 10, a Grace resident operating a mobility scooter struck Mary’s walker. She fell, fracturing her pelvis in 3 places. Mary was transported to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center that day and never returned to Grace at Englefield Green. This event began a series of medical issues from which she did not recover.
Mary is survived by the lights of her life, grandchildren Marta Slickers (Brad) and Braden Tanikuni; great-grandchildren Louella Slickers, Noah Tanikuni and Easton Tanikuni. Other survivors include John Itano (Shirley), Lois Kondo, Joyce Tom (Ben), Dennis Tanikuni (Jane), Gary Tanikuni (Monet) and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death were husband Frank Tanikuni, Roy and Tome’ Aoyagi, James and Masuno Itano, brothers Joe, Tucker, James, Frank and Kyoshi, who died in infancy.
Mary’s family would like to thank the administration and staffs at Grace at Englefield Green, Aspen Transitional Rehab and Sara Smith, NP for the care and compassion they have shown her these last several years. In lieu of koden, please contribute to a charity of your choice.
Mary’s viewing will occur at Dakan Funeral Chapel on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
A graveside service will be held at the Wilder Cemetery on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.
Due to rapidly increasing Delta Variant Covid 19 cases in the valley and because her family witnessed Mary’s extreme emotional distress during her Covid experience, no post-service gathering will be held.
Covid 19 protocols will be observed at all events.
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