Reiko Nakajima Yamamoto Sayler passed away peacefully in her sleep with her family at home in Hulbert, Oklahoma on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at the age of 89.
Reiko was born to Seisaku and Chino Nakajima on, December 16, 1929 in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan. She was the seventh of seven children-sisters Toshiko, Kazuko, and Masako, and brothers Kiyoshi, Saburou, and Tetsurou. Reiko lived in Wajima until November 1939 when her father took a job in the Ishikawa prefecture office in Kanazawa. Reiko entered the Kinjou High School in Kanazawa April 1942. The family moved to Honda-machi in Kanazawa City in July of 1942 where her extended family still lives today. In December of 1944, Reiko's father, Seisaku who was a school principal, died suddenly of pneumonia. In 1947, Reiko graduated from high school. Reiko enjoyed the English language. Being a very proficient typist, she soon secured a job as a typist in the Ishikawa prefecture office. Two to three years later, as a young woman, Reiko moved to Tokyo by herself.
Reiko fell in love with Jim Sayler, a Navy sailor from Maryland. Upon his discharge from the service, he went back to Japan to marry her in Japan on December 21, 1957. They returned to the dairy farm in Union Bridge, Maryland via a month long ship voyage to the United States and a cross-country train ride to Maryland. The life of an American dairy farmer's wife was far from her upbringing in the seaside Japan cities where Reiko grew up. She, however, embraced this life, enjoying the animals and learning how to cook American food for a farm family. While living on the Union Bridge farm, they hosted a Japanese 4-H International Foreign Exchange agriculture student, Akio. This was a welcome experience for both Reiko and Akio, sharing experiences and Japanese food together as he learned to live in a U.S. farm family.
Reiko, along with her husband and daughter moved to New Windsor, Maryland in 1965. She worked as a seamstress for several men's clothing manufacturing companies for over 30 years. While raising her only daughter, Diana, as a family they spent many weekends showing horses, re-enacting Civil War Battles and riding on Wagon Trains, in addition to the farming and gardening that filled the rest of her days at home. Reiko was well liked by everyone, always welcoming family and friends into her home. She enjoyed serving everyone food of any kind, whether it was a picnic lunch, a crab feed, a birthday cake, or a full course dinner.
Upon retirement, Reiko moved to Hulbert, Oklahoma in 1990 to live with her daughter. Soon she was blessed with welcoming her son in law, Kent Barnes and her only two grandchildren, KC and Hallie Barnes soon followed. Many of her days now were filled with helping her growing family. She enjoyed showering her grandchildren with love. Most every week she sewed a new, matching outfit for her grandchildren to wear to church. Also each week Reiko (Gma as her grandchildren called her), KC and Hallie looked forward to going to the store to purchase a toy for each of them. As KC and Hallie became active in youth activities, she embraced helping the family by taking care of all the animals and their shared home while KC and Hallie were away showing cattle. Her retirement years were filled with caring for grandchildren, gardening, and reading.
Reading books was her first love as a little girl. Reiko amassed a large collection of close to 1000 Japanese books that she read over many times and saved on many bookshelves lining her walls.
Reiko is preceded in death by her parents, three sisters, and two brothers. She is survived by her daughter and son in law, Diana and Kent Barnes and their children, KC and Hallie Barnes of Hulbert, Oklahoma; former spouse and father of her daughter, Jim Sayler of Keymar, Maryland; brother, Tetsurou Nakajima of Tokyo, Japan; brother in law, Charles (Bud) Sayler of Taneytown, Maryland: niece Betsy Sayler of Taneytown, Maryland, niece Debbie Henze of Hanover, Pennsylvania, niece Yuko Kurumaji and husband Akeo and sons Kentaro and wife Emi and son of Tokyo, Japan, Takashi and wife Linda of Boston, Massachusetts, and Ryoma of Tokyo, Japan; niece Tomoko Asanuma and son Kazutaka and his wife Kumi and children of Kanazawa, Japan.
Special thanks to Dr. Cole and his office staff and nurse Lois, Good Shepard Hospice and the many kind nurses and aides, and a special friend, Donnetta Keele.
Memorial donations may be sent to Hulbert United Methodist Church, PO box 514, Hulbert, OK 74441, or Good Shepard Hospice (https://www.goodshepherdhospice.com)