Alice "Aya" Tsufura
Alice “Aya” Tsufura was 90 years young when she passed away on February 5, 2023. Her cheery smile, happy face and caring spirit touched everyone, from neighbors next door to around the world.
Alice was born in Salinas, California to a farming family on March 24, 1932. As a child during WWII, she lived behind barbed wire in Poston, Arizona when the U.S. government unjustly forced people of Japanese descent from their homes into incarceration camps.
As a young woman, Alice studied nursing and went overseas to Japan with the U.S. Army to work as a civilian nurse. She returned to marry Satoru “Sat” Tsufura, a photographer. They settled in Cedar Grove, NJ, raising a daughter and son. Alice volunteered for the local Ambulance Unit. She resumed working as an operating room nurse at Mountainside, then Montclair Community hospitals. Upon retiring, she devotedly cared for her husband and participated in community activities including sewing and knitting groups and exercise classes.
Alice was known for her delicious baking and cooking, especially for Oshogatsu - New Year’s Day where neighbors were introduced to Japanese food and traditions at her home. She enjoyed dancing at Japanese Obon festivities honoring ancestors. She delighted in going to the New Jersey shore and walking in the ocean waters. Alice also did some background acting and can be seen in Netflix’s “Dash & Lily.”
Alice gave to others in many ways. She knitted hats for children with cancer. She made treats for relatives, neighbors, coworkers and friends and remembered their special days. By supporting her husband's passion in publishing Sportsfolio Magazine, she brought recognition to countless New Jersey high school athletes. She gave most of all to her two children, advice, concern, consolation, unconditional
Though small in stature, Alice had an inner strength and perseverance. Alice was a "gambariya" (Japanese for one who makes a real effort) in all she undertook. This was no more evident than in her final journey, to rehabilitate from a stroke and fulfill her dream of a new life with new friends at Seabrook Village, a senior independent living community. Though this was not meant to be, her display of heart and courage will forever be an inspiration to us.
Alice is survived by her children, Donna and Lamarr, nieces Naomi, Joanne, Charlene, Faith, Lisa, Eve and nephew Mark – she was their "Auntie Aya", and her cherished companion of recent years, her cat Bobo.
In her final act of selflessness, Alice donated her body to medical research at NYIT College of Osteopathy.
These donations and other acts of caring and kindness will express “I love you” - Alice’s legacy to all of us.
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