In Memory

Tynie Hisae Monji (née Azuma)

Azuma Family
Tynie H. Azuma on her 90th Birthday

On May 29,  2021, longtime Chula Vista resident Tynie Hisae Monji (née Azuma), 96, passed away peacefully in her sleep. She had been in hospice care since April. 

Monji was a member of the Baha’i Faith since 1953 and during her lifetime she had served on the local spiritual assembly of Chula Vista. Since her retirement in 1989 from working in a clerical capacity at Chula Vista High School for 14 years, Monji was active in the Chula Vista Garden Club and enjoyed painting watercolors.

Born in Los Angeles to Sueichi Azuma and Tora (née Matsushita), September 3, 1924, she was part of the Japanese American Terminal Island community (The community was torn down during World War II). She was the last surviving child out of a family of five children (Shizue Maruyama , 1919-2017; Takeo, 1920-2013; George Yoji, 1922-2015 and Steve Yoneo, 1926-2011). Her family moved from Los Angeles to Chula Vista to farm tomatoes and cucumbers. In the spring of 1942, she was among the San Diego County residents of Japanese descent who were interned at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, and Poston internment camp. Although she rarely spoke of those times, she noted the stables weren’t cleaned before her family moved into the stalls.

Returning after the war to their farm, the Azuma family found their stored heirloom lacquerware had been stolen. The Azuma family recovered, providing shelter for other returning Japanese Americans. 

On July 20, 1957, Tynie married Takeshi Monji. Together, they had three children: Karin, Jana and Alan in Chula Vista. After her husband’s death in 1974 due to multiple sclerosis, Monji raised the three children, all of whom became first-generation college graduates. While they were still in school, she took them on rockhounding adventures as members of the San Diego Mineral & Gem Society and they enjoyed listening to musicals under the flight path of airplanes at the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park. They also spent many hours observing animals at the San Diego Zoo. Even in her later years, the hummingbird aviary was a favorite spot. Monji is survived by her three children Karin K. MacKill and husband John, Jana J. Monji and husband Ian K. Ono and Alan T. Monji, and grandsons David, Kenji, Robert (wife Fizah) MacKill. No services are planned.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to online at sandiegozoo.org/memorial

or via mail:

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Hummingbird Habitat
In memory of Tynie Hisae Monji, 
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112 

2 comments

  1. I have many fond memories of my Auntie Tynie. While growing up in Chicago, we were treated with delicious California treats – dried fruits and nuts to name a few during the Christmas holidays. I enjoyed visiting with Tynie and my cousins Jana, Karin and Alan when we I had a chance to visit Chula Vista. Auntie Tynie’s love of nature was apparent then as I remember walking through Balboa Park and enjoying the surroundings. More recently, we had a great time when Auntie Tynie and Karin came to Chicago for a visit. We had fun hitting some of the local spots/highlights. I was amazed at Auntie’s high energy and spirit as we had a chance to catch up while enjoying the sites. I have a watercolor painting which Auntie painted; it originally was hanging in my Mom and Dad’s house; now it has a proud spot in my house! As I write this, I have several Ruby Throated Hummingbirds visiting my feeder and will also be a reminder of my Auntie Tynie.

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