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Nadine Enid Kazuko Oka passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 27, 2020. She lost a fierce battle with an aggressive form of cancer–five weeks after diagnosis.
Nadine was born in Carmel, CA on February 4, 1959 to the late Giro “Jiggs” Oka and the late Miyoko “Miyo” Oka (nee Yokota). She leaves behind many loved ones including; her brother Ron Oka and wife Elizabeth, sister Denise Oka and husband Brent Rieker, soulmate Barbara Hughes, four-legged children, Callie & Casey, and numerous other relatives.
Nadine grew up in Monterey, CA and moved to the Atlanta, GA area in 1976 to work at a Cosmetology school and then as a Hairdresser. It was through her job as a hairdresser that she met many close friends and acquaintances–one of whom eventually hired her to work on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. That position introduced her to the ADA world, and was the beginning of her new career. From the Olympics she worked for the Atlanta Housing Authority and several years later, secured her latest position with Fulton County as the ADA Administrator.
Nadine studied Martial Arts as a teenager and after a decades long break, resumed her studies in 2000 at the age of 41. She eventually became a Godan (5th degree) Black Belt in Koto-Su Ha Shito Ryu Karate Do and a Nidan (2nd Degree) in Kobudo (weapons) under the International Karate Kobudo Union (IKKU). In hindsight, watching her knock the neighborhood bully off his bike when we were in grade school was a precursor of what was to be. It was at her dojo where she met her best friend Barb, also a Godan (size can be deceiving). BTW, Nadine did not do as well with ringing the belly dancing bells during Zumba.
Nadine was an active person; if you called her she was usually working on some home improvement project—rebuilding her deck, organizing her tools, securing the fence, or filling the doggie holes. A true Yokota, she also was a foodie and among other types, loved Mexican food (Del Rio and Fidel’s) and came to love her southern food: pork chops, grits, sausage gravy, pork chops, biscuits, pork chops…She was a no-nonsense person on the one hand, with a low tolerance for some situations and people, but on the other hand, was extremely patient and didn’t seem to get angry as her yard was slowly being destroyed by her new adoptees Callie & Casey.
Nadine was strong; Nadine was tough. When she entered the hospital, she let the doctors know that just the month before, she could put down a 200 lb. man (note the comment about neighborhood bully above). Nadine always volunteered to be the uke during Karate testing. An uke is an honorable position; the person who receives the punches and kicks (i.e. techniques) from the tester. In true Samurai spirit and a testament to Nadine’s, even on the morning of her passing, she let the Doctors know she was not willing to give up; this time, she did not willingly volunteer to become the uke to cancer.
Nadine will be cremated and scattered at sea.