Reiko Johnson, 90, Mt. Lebanon PA, on Tuesday, November 16th, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband John M. “Swede” Johnson and her brother Yuki Ohki. She is survived by her son John “Malcolm” (Lisa), sisters Toshie, Katsumi, Eiko, and Uriko, nieces Sherry and Lisa, nephews Kazuhiko and Akira two granddaughters, and one great-granddaughter.
Reiko was born in Kudamatsu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan and grew up in a militaristic Japan heading toward a disastrous war. When Reiko was 14 years old, she witnessed the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, Japan that marked the near end of the war. In the post-war years, Reiko worked as a clerk at a U.S. military base and met John “Swede” Johnson. They married in 1957 and had their son John “Malcolm” Johnson in 1958. Reiko, Swede, and Malcolm transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1961, The Johnsons later moved to Fort Belvoir, Virginia where Swede retired from the U.S. Army.
The family moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Reiko was a homemaker until 1971 when the Samurai Restaurant opened in Green Tree Pennsylvania and Reiko became an extremely popular server. The family moved to California in 1978 and Reiko lived the next 39 year in Oceanside California where she spent many years working at Fukuda Grocery in Escondido California and Kyoto Market in Oceanside California.
In 2018, Reiko moved back to Mt Lebanon Pennsylvania where she charmed her neighbors with her sense of humor and quick wit. She was renowned in the Sunset Hills neighborhood for always being out in the yard gardening or just enjoying every season except winter. Reiko was also a prodigious baker and often bought her delicious breads and cookies to neighbors.
There will be a private service for Reiko’s family at the Laughlin Funeral Home, Mt. Lebanon PA. If desired, and in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
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