Fumiko Radile

November  14th, 1936 July  7th, 2023
Madison Heights, Virginia
Fumiko Radile


Fumiko Radile, 86, of Madison Heights, passed away on Friday, July 7, 2023, at her home, after a short period dealing with cancer. She was born in Tokyo, Japan on November 14, 1936. Fumiko's parents, now deceased, were Susumu and Noriko Yamaguchi.
Fumiko had three missions in life: to raise her sons to be good people, to teach Japanese language as well as she could, and, after retiring from teaching, to volunteer in any way she could to help others. All through her life, Fumiko had an exterior properness and dignity, but also an interior sense of spirit and resolve. She may have appeared fragile, but she was daring and very strong, in all senses of the word.
Fumiko was one of the first American Field Service students who came to the US from Japan, in 1954. She graduated from International Christian University in Tokyo, in 1960. While in Syracuse from 1970 to 1975 with her first husband, Nobuo Dobashi, now deceased, Fumiko taught Japanese at Syracuse University, as their first Japanese language instructor. She later taught Japanese by appointment of the U.S. State Department, in Sapporo, Japan. In 1986, Fumiko taught Japanese at Cornell University for one year, and then, beginning in 1987, she taught at the University of Oregon for five years. Fumiko earned a master's degree in education at the University of Oregon in 1992. Also that year, Fumiko accepted a joint appointment with Randolph Macon Woman's College and with Sweet Briar College. She retired in 2006, after 15 happy years at those schools.
Her volunteering work included the Gateway, Interfaith Out-Reach, Jones Memorial Library, Legacy Museum, Lynchburg Daily Bread, Lynchburg University Beard Center on Aging, Meals on Wheels, and the First Unitarian Church. Fumiko gained many close friends along the way, from former students, fellow teachers, church members, and other volunteers.
Fumiko is survived by her loving husband of 33 years, David M Radile, of Madison Heights. Fumiko's two sons (both now in their mid-50s, and good people, as she wished), Masato and his wife Minako, and Yoshito his wife Makiko, her grandson, Taiga Dobashi, her sister, Tomoko Hasumi, her brothers, Takeshi and Itaru Yamaguchi, and several nephews, nieces, and cousins, all live in Japan.
Fumiko's wishes for anatomical donation have been carried out, through the Virginia Anatomical Donation Program, in Richmond, VA. Instead of a funeral or flowers, Fumiko would have appreciated donations to charities that she favored, including, Food for the Poor, Lynchburg Daily Bread, Meals on Wheels, Mercy Ships, and Operation Smile, or any charity helping the poor.


Introduction to this Memorial for Fumiko Radile.
Welcome to Fumiko’s memorial! It is an honor for me to memorialize my wife, not only for what she did for me, but also for so many others. Perhaps this memorial may offer some joyful moments and a chance to think about how much she affected us. Fumiko’s sons wanted especially to thank you for your friendship and caring for her.
         Thanks to Online Tribute (based in the UK) for this place where Fumiko can still reach out to us, and to touch us all. The many photos and words here are arranged in sections of Fumiko’s life.
         Her son Yoshito Dobashi helped with identifying people in the pictures, where possible. Yoshito’s wife Makiko kindly translated notes in Japanese that were on the back of pictures into English. And finally, since locations and dates were not always available, the pictures’ order is often random.
         Online Tribute offers the Memory Wall section for viewers to see pictures and/or words sent in by viewers, by clicking on the Memory Wall button. If you wish to add pictures or messages there, perhaps the easiest way is to send them to me by email. People with Japanese language only may send their pictures and thoughts about Fumiko to her son Yoshito Dobashi in Kanazawa, Japan, where he teaches at Kanazawa Institute of Technology. You can reach him at tomasi.dobby@gmail.com and/or dobashi@lime.plala.or.jp. Also, you may copy images on the website and then paste them into your computer, in Word (or another word processor) or in your Pictures folder.
         Please send to me or to Yoshito any comments or suggestions about this memorial, the arrangements or layout. I apologize that this project took so long to prepare. David Radile (daveradile@comcast.net)

About Fumiko’s Pictures.
Fumiko as a baby. I was very happy to find these photos. I believe that they were of her because they look alike, and/or maybe because I want them to be of her!
Fumiko’s childhood. Again, these pictures were a delight to find. They would be from the war period, which the family spent with relatives in the countryside, until they returned to Tokyo during the final months of the war.
Fumiko as a teenager. These pictures show Fumiko fitting into a new phase of life, with her folks and siblings and friends.
Fumiko’s AFS years and later. Fumiko came to the US in 1954 under the American Friends Service Plan (AFS). The sub-section called “AFS guys and girls” features reunions of the original AFS students. The AFS host family for Fumiko were the Gillmors, in Syracuse, NY.
Fumiko’s Alma Mater, International Christian University (ICU). I had the pleasure of visiting ICU, on my trip to Japan in 1990 to meet Fumiko’s family. The day I arrived at ICU I found the rugby field where Yoshito was deeply involved in a game. Afterwards we visited his dorm, the ICU teahouse and chapel. On that visit to Japan, Yoshito guided me around Tokyo and Kamakura, which included a hike in the hills nearby, a stop along the road back to visit a temple, and for delicious Kaki Gori (bean sauce over shaved ice).
Also, I am indebted to Reverend Mizuo Ito, a classmate of Fumiko’s at ICU, who kindly sent me some ICU class photos.
Fumiko’s family life in Japan and Syracuse, NY. These pictures tell us a lot about how engaged Fumiko was with her family, as we see them in Syracuse and across the US, as well as in Japan.
Teaching in Japan, and at Syracuse, Cornell, and University of Oregon. These pictures of Fumiko with other teachers and students, from the beginning of her teaching career, were assembled based on clothing, fashion, etc.
Fumiko in Eugene, OR, and our wedding. These pictures bring back wonderful memories of Fumiko and our travels around Oregon, at our home in Eugene, with her friends from the University of Oregon (UO), at Fumiko’s apartment, and our wedding.
Teaching at Randolph Macon Woman’s College (RMWC). RMWC meant a lot to Fumiko, from her job interviews there, the brick buildings, their design, the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the spirit of a school devoted to developing young women’s capabilities and their identity. Fumiko spent long hours preparing her classroom lessons, teaching, and grading and encouraging her students. Many of those young women (as well as a few men, and some not so young) became her friends over the years.
Life in Virginia. These pictures of Fumiko’s life here in Virginia, where she lived, the countryside that she enjoyed, and some occurrences here show what she may have described to others.
Fumiko as a grandmother. Fumiko’s grandson Taiga, born on June 17, 1998, to Masato and Minako, was very special to her. Taiga is enrolled at Keio University and is working in Tokyo now.
Fumiko taking pictures. Fumiko was a ready photographer, just about everywhere.
Fumiko’s travels around the world. These pictures from before we were married and after showed how much Fumiko enjoyed seeing friends and family and making new acquaintances. I could not identify all of the people and places, but they seem to capture her spirit, her intrepid journey-taking, and her curiosity about other people and places.
Special Fumiko things. Here are various keepsakes of Fumiko’s, and messages and tributes, plus some very special thoughts from Fumiko in her own words.
Some of Fumiko’s friends. Difficulties in identifying Fumiko's friends in Japan and elsewhere led me to concentrate on her friends here in the U.S. She was very happy to have connected with friends to enjoy, and to help when the going got tough. Her friends struck me as great human beings, understanding, unpretentious, and deeply caring.
Fumiko’s family. Seeing these pictures in Fumiko’s collection was wonderful, but I had to guess about the identity of Fumiko’s grandfather and grandmother. Dates are shown when they were available.
Fumiko’s passing. I could not describe the pain of Fumiko’s sickness over the period of a year-the ups and downs, and the final awful ending. Having so many friends following the news about her condition, sharing our pain, and wishing us both well helped us both greatly. Thank you so much!

Fumiko's Pictures 

Memory Wall

Post your condolences, pictures, and memories.

June 28, 2024

Email from Setsuko, who taught Japanese at the University of Oregon with Fumiko, and later transferred to Oregon State University.

David san,

I decided to send you a mail hoping that you would forward this message to Fumiko sensei.

If she had not introduced me JSL, OSU Japanese program would not be prosperous. My successors are using JSAL textbook and the reading materials that Fumiko sensei wrote.
They also have developed online courses based on JSL and have created an online Japanese minor. More than 100 students (on campus and online combined) sign up for the first year Japanese every year.

She is the mentor for me. I cannot express how much I appreciate her.

Please take care of yourself, too. Setsuko
David Radile
June 28, 2024

July 30, 2023

Email from Ramona who volunteered with Fumiko at Legacy Museum in Lynchburg for several years.

Hi David,

You have really provided a masterful obituary for a special lady. I was moved by the many years of providing educational and community services she was involved in and gave tirelessly to their missions.

You are and were a shining example of a devoted spouse and caretaker when it became necessary. Please take care of yourself and remember the joy you had in the wonderful partnership over those 33 years of togetherness.

I have missed working with Fumiko and her memories will remain in my heart and mind. I also cherish the times we took day trips together working on exhibit plans. I learned much from her ability to see the real strength in bonding through collaboration.

Peace and blessings,
David Radile
June 26, 2024
Emails from Takako, a close friend of Fumiko’s from the 1970’s, I believe.

Dear David,

When I saw her picture, I almost stood up to hug her! She was always beautiful, but her beauty and elegance have not changed over the years I have not seen her. While we were in Syracuse, we used to work together with a Japanese Cultural Club for several years.
Along with other Japanese people, we had a lot of fun times together. It is great that she contributed so much to the communities she happened to live in. There will be many people who will miss her.
Thank you, David, for being such a caring and loving husband to her for 33 years. You will miss taking care of her, but she will be with you and us as long as we live. Please take care of yourself. You still have a lot to do to take care of her belongings. Enjoy it while living with her spirit.
Thank you so much also for letting us know of her conditions in the last few months. I hope you can keep in contact with Masato and Yoshito.
Aloha and Mahala Nui Loa, Takako

Dear David,

I did not want to believe you and even if I believed it, I did not want to write to you, for it means I acknowledge the fact of Fumiko's going away forever.
I am so sorry about the fact that Fumiko is no longer beside you, especially after the agent comes to take her body away. I have signed the same sort of deal after I go for the sake of scientific needs. But my fancy is her soul will be with you all the time, and she would be watching us from the sky. I pretend that she is still alive.
David Radile
June 26, 2024
Email from Lynn Kable, extolling Fumiko as a wonderful mentor and a kind and generous person.

My relationship with Fumiko began when I moved to Amherst, Virginia and was serving as project director of a program funded by the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership to the U.S. Society for the Arts in Healthcare, the Japan Society for Arts and Healthcare, and Tanpopo-No-Ye. We were conducting research on “Caring for Caregiver” programs in the United States and Japan. We were funded by the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission to disseminate the books we had written to English- and Japanese speaking organizations and to lecture in-person about our research at policy-making organizations such as the Agency for Research and Quality of NIH, and Universities such as University of Florida/Shands Hospital.

It was in the writing and dissemination phase of this project that Fumiko Radile came into my life. I asked her, the Japanese language teacher at that time at Randolph Macon Woman’s College, if I might audit her elementary Japanese language class. To my delight, Professor Radile said “yes” and even ordered me a set of the class materials.

While I was not the most talented student in our class, Fumiko-san said to me that it was nice to have an adult in the room, “It gave a different feeling to the class.” Fumiko became interested in our project and actually helped us with it. I wrote in a project description at the time: “Professor Fumiko Radile of Randolph Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, Virginia, helped us translate for the final book. She says, "Most interesting of all to me was to see what the conference leaders and participants learned from each other. What is interesting is that the approach to care for the caregivers is both culture-based as well as universal, and that's where a joint project like this becomes meaningful. It provides an opportunity to see what is universal and what is unique, so that people will gain new perspectives from each other."

When it came time for the dissemination part of our “Caring for Caregivers” program, Fumiko helped us write, and certainly to correct, a short letter in Japanese saying a copy of the book is enclosed, and if you would like to have someone come and speak to your organization, please contact us. She helped us with writing letters in general. She could even make phone calls in Japanese, or act as a translator with our Japanese partners by coming to my house and picking up an extension

I so valued Fumiko Radile as a teacher, mentor, friend and colleague. I wrote in a report, thinking of Fumiko, “For myself, I have met a number of Japanese people in my own fields of interest through this project that I feel I can call upon for inspiration, advice or assistance. People whose wisdom and intellectual curiosity I respect, whose insights are valuable to me and different from mine, and whose friendship I value.”
David Radile
June 26, 2024
Email from Noriko, a Japanese language teaching assistant with Fumiko at the University of Oregon.

In Memory of Radile-sensei by Noriko August 2, 2023

When Radile-sensei was teaching Japanese at University of Oregon in spring, 1988, I was her GTF, a teaching assistant. That was my first semester to teach Japanese as a GTF. My favorite time of the week was the weekly meeting on Fridays in Radile-sensei's office with her as Senior Instructor, Setsuko-san as Junior Instructor, and another GTF (a male PhD student majoring in Journalism). I was looking forward to home-made cake and cookies Radile-sensei baked and fresh brewed coffee Setsuko-san made. While we were enjoying delicious sweets and coffee, we discussed what worked and what didn't about teaching in classes in the previous week. Then, Radile-sensei talked about the focus of the classes in the coming week. Radile-sensei's meetings in nurturing/mentoring manner helped me later, when I worked with my own teaching assistant at Gettysburg College.

Radile-sensei brought me joy and an opportunity. One day, she gave me a call and asked me if I could tutor one of her third-year Japanese students. "Of course, with pleasure!" was my answer. The name of the student is Miki McKenzie. Miki is known for the movies The Loch Ness Horror (1982), Lucy Moves to NBC (1980) and Chips (1977). She has been married to Todd Howard, a professional golfer, since January 28, 1993. She was previously married to Yutaka Mizutani, a famous actor in Japan (1982-1986). They co-starred in the popular TV drama "Necchuu-jidai," or "Hot Age," as wife and husband (26 episodes: April 7 - October 6 in 1979). Miki and I hit it off well, and we presented a Sawara Naomi hit song "Sekai wa Hutarino tameni," or "The world is for only Two of Us." Miki was a former singer, and we harmonized the song and sang in front of Radile-sensei. Miki told me that she and Yutaka Mizutani sang together at their wedding. It was perfect timing to sing for Radile-sensei, as she was in love with David at that very time.

There was a time when I was pleasantly surprised and discovered Radile-sensei's noble upbringing. She was teaching grammar in English, and she told students that she uses honorific Japanese to her parents. At our house, I called Dad "Too-chan," and Mom "Kaa-chan," and used informal speech to my parents. What??? She uses Honorific Japanese to her parents??? She must have come from a noble family! Her dignity and grace came naturally from her upbringing and background.

I unexpectedly witnessed her "a teenager like, girlish side." As I mentioned earlier, she was dating David then. Radile-sensei was showing Setsuko-san and me some of her pictures to choose one to give to David. She was very happy. She looked to me like a teenager in love. That was a happy surprise to me, as I was accustomed to her maturity - her elegance, intelligence, and wisdom.
David Radile




 このオンライントリビュート(Online Tribute)社の追悼サイトには、文子が私たちと交われる場を提供してくれたことに感謝しています。ここでは文子の人生について章別に写真や言葉で振り返ることができます。文子の次男の喜人がここに写っている人たちの確認を手伝ってくれました。喜人の妻の真紀子が写真の裏面に記されていた日本語の英訳を手伝ってくれました。場所や日付が特定できないものもあったため写真の順番が正しくないかもしれません。

 この追悼サイトの Memory Wall という掲示板では、みなさまにも写真や文章を投稿していただくことができ、見ることができます。トップページの Memory Wall と書いてあるボタンをクリックしてください。文子との写真や文子への追悼メッセージ等を投稿していただける方は、私(David)宛に電子メールで連絡していただければ幸いです(daveradile@comcast.net)。日本語のみの方は現在、金沢工業大学で教鞭を取っている次男の喜人に送ってください(dobashi@lime.plala.or.jp and/or tomasi.dobby@gmail.com)。

David Radile(daveradile@comcast.net)




<AFS の留学>
 1954 年にアメリカ・フレンズ奉仕団(American Friends Service (AFS))のプログラムの下、高校留学生として米国へやってきました。この中の “AFS guys and girls” (AFS の仲間たち)では第一期のAFS の学生の同窓会が紹介されています。文子の AFS のホストファミリーはニューヨーク州シラキュース市のギルモア(Gillmor)家でした。

私は 1990 年に文子の家族に会いに日本を訪れて、ICU を訪問したことは大きな喜びでした。大学では喜人がラグビーの試合をしていました。喜人の学生寮を訪れ、泰山荘(茶室)やICU 教会も訪問しました。また、喜人が東京や鎌倉を案内してくれ、丘を登ったり、お寺を訪ねたり、美味しい宇治金時のかき氷をほおばったりしました。 ICU 関係の写真を送っていただいたICU 時代の同級生だった伊藤瑞男先生(牧師)に深く感謝します。

1970 年代から 1980 年代の写真です。



RMWC は文子にとって大きな意味を持っていました。これは教員面接に始まり、レンガの建物、そのデザイン、ブルーリッジ山脈を望む景色、そして若い女性の能力開発と自我の確立に献身する建学の精神に感銘を受けていました。文子は授業の準備、授業そのもの、採点、そして学生を鼓舞するために、多くの時間を割いていました。彼女が育てた多くの若い女性(一部、男性も含まれますが)たちは、その後、長年にわたる良き友人となりました。


1998 年 6 月17 日に生まれた孫の大雅(たいが)は文子にとって特別な存在でした。長男の眞人と妻の美奈子の間に生まれました。慶応大学に進学し、今は東京で働いています。






私は文子の1 年間におよぶ闘病生活の悲しみを言葉で表すことはできません。そして最後に天に召された時も。多くの友人たちが文子の容態を心配し、苦痛を分かち合い、私たちを気遣ってくれたことは大きな支えでした。心より感謝申し上げます。

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