Taiko Miyauchi Johnston

ELLSWORTH — Taiko Miyauchi Johnston, beloved wife and sister, passed away quietly Dec. 29, 2012. Taiko was born Sept. 11, 1933, in Tokyo, Japan, one of five children.

Her father manufactured the copper mesh caps that form the base of the traditional wigs used by Japan’s ancient and honored Kabuki Theater. As a girl, Taiko learned exquisite sewing skills. Wanting to improve her English, she took a job at the Base Exchange at Tachikawa Air Force Base, where she met a young sergeant from Hancock, Norris W. Johnston. They married in December 1958, and Norris brought his beautiful, intelligent and fun-loving bride back to Maine in 1961. The Johnston, Pomroy and Clarke families were blessed to have her join them. She joined their camping adventures, poker games, Saturday night dances and the many parties of family and friends with energy, grace and great humor. She was a much loved family favorite. Taiko made a home for her husband on U.S. Air Force bases in Japan, Maine, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida and the Philippines and Guam. She awaited his return from Vietnam. Together, they built a home in Ellsworth in the ’70s. She became a citizen of the United States. Taiko worked as a seamstress and could make tailored men’s sports jackets from patterns she cut from newspaper. She also was a cook at the former Knowlton School and loved the occasions she was invited into the classrooms to teach the little children Origami and Haiku. She took painting lessons and oversaw a large vegetable garden, flower patches and bird feeders. Throughout her marriage, Taiko remained devoted to her family in Japan, traveling to spend time with them as often as possible, writing long letters, sending packages and telephoning frequently. Her younger sister, Masako Young of San Jose, Calif., has been with her for the past two months. She sustained her language and culture through the nurturing friendships of other Japanese wives on military bases and throughout eastern Maine. Taiko brought sparkle to our lives.

She leaves behind her devoted husband, Norris W. Johnston; her sister, Masako Young; two sisters-in-law, Anne C. Pomroy of Old Orchard Beach and Umi Miyauchi of Tokyo, Japan; two nieces; one nephew; and her much loved little dog, Sammy. The family expresses their gratitude to Taiko’s caregivers at Courtland Rehab and Living Center.

A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth, with Pastor Bob Maddocks officiating. A reception will follow the service at the funeral home. Those wishing to remember Taiko may make contributions to a charity of their choice. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.

Know when to pay your respects.