Isshi Yamada, 84, passed away peacefully in Evanston surrounded by family on Aug. 14, due to complications from emphysema and renal cancer. He was born on July 21, 1933, in Saga, Japan.
Among his many lifetime achievements, he received his B.A. at Kyushu University, his M.A. at Tokyo University, and his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London in 1967. He was a Professor Emeritus of Northwestern University, joining the Department of Religion in 1971 and remaining active until his retirement in the 1990s.
However, his proudest accomplishments took place on the homefront. He was a devoted husband of 51 years to Anita. They met at the University of London and married there in 1966. He was an adoring dad to his children, Akari (Davis Yang), Shishin (Loredana), Joshin (Bahar Jaberi), and Izumi; a doting grandpa to his grandchildren (DJ, Madison, Sophia, and Zoe Yang, Alex Yamada, and Ayize Yamada); and a loving son who revered and deeply missed his departed parents, Kaizo and Shiki Yamada.
Dr. Yamada died on what would have been his mother’s 108th birthday, as well as on the final day of Japan’s largest ancestral celebration honoring those already departed, a date which seems particularly significant and fitting to his family.
Dr. Yamada was an inspiring presence. His hilarious brand of humor at the most unexpected times kept them all in stitches.
His spirit of adventure took him around the world, both in permanence when he moved to London, Sri Lanka, and finally here to the United States; and in his travels, from multiple cross-country trips throughout the United States to Asia to New Zealand to Europe.
He had a thirst for learning, never stopped advancing his knowledge, and enjoyed discussion on a host of topics. His compassion and his humor, his wisdom and patient counsel, and above all, his strong spirit, will be deeply missed.
The family’s love carries him from this journey to the next.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. at Donnellen Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie, Blvd., Skokie.
Isshi Yamada’s family thanks the family, neighbors, and many friends for their gestures of sympathy and support in this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, donations made in his name to a charity of one’s choice are deeply appreciated.