Tsunako “Akemi” Nelson passed away peacefully in her home on Aug. 16, 2021 at the age of 89. She was born in Japan on Jan. 13, 1932.
Akemi worked on Naval Base Yokohama, Japan, keeping track of U.S. ships going in and out of port She described the large black board she would write on when getting a new ship schedule. Akemi, moved to Coronado in 1967 after meeting and marrying her husband, Walter Nelson, when he was stationed in Yokohama for several years.
Akemi immersed herself in the American way of life, learning how to write in English and perfecting her spoken English. She had a saying, “If I’m going to be an American, I will be a good American, and I’m a proud American.”
In 1985, Akemi made her dream come true in becoming a U.S. citizen. Walter, and all who knew her, were so proud of her hard work, dedication, and long hours studying to make this dream a reality.
With the accomplishment of her citizenship, she joined the VFW Auxiliary of the General Henry D. Styer Post 2422 in Coronado, as a life member, on Feb. 21, 1985. Even before joining the Auxiliary, she was very active at the post as was her husband.
She was President of the VFW Auxiliary from 1989-1991, and again from 2001-2013. She was also District 1 VFW Auxiliary President from 2001-2002. Akemi was an exceptional VFW Auxiliary President, receiving many awards and certificates in recognition of her outstanding contributions. She worked tirelessly for our veterans organizations ensuring we provided valuable support to veterans and their families, often traveling the United States to Auxiliary conventions and conferences. Akemi worked hard on recruiting women into the VFW Auxiliary, and developed lifelong friendship with many of them. She was most proud of the Junior Auxiliary members, educating them in the importance of giving and helping others.
After her years of leadership in the VFW Auxiliary, Akemi developed medical problems that limited her ability to participate any longer.
Her husband, Walter Nelson, a veteran of the Korean War, served in the U.S. Navy as a Chief for over 20 years. He was also a very active member of the Coronado VFW Post, serving as the Commander of the post for many years.
Akemi and Walter’s home in Coronado was a “fun” place for friends to gather for a poker game, listen to music, and dance. After Walter retired from the Navy in 1970, he and Akemi started Nelson Landscape and Maintenance service. Akemi continued to run the business after Walter passed in 1992, until she could no longer drive. Akemi worked for several families in Coronado. She was an avid gardener, with a passion for trees and landscape design. Friends remember seeing Akemi up in a client’s tree, trimming branches for that perfect look!
The last few years of Akemi’s life were very comfortable; she was able to stay in her home with full time caregivers and a longtime friend watching out for her care.
There will be a celebration of life for Akemi on Sept. 18, at 3 p.m., at the Coronado VFW Post, 557 Orange Ave. All that knew this wonderful lady please join us for an afternoon of celebration…her parting party!
“Good night Akemi and good friend, we remember your laughter and cheer, we remember your spirit of cooperation and goodness, we love you for the lesson of celebrating every moment. Thank you and now go quietly to your reward and take with you our tears and love.”