Emily Ishigaki, former El Monte Council member and City employee, passed away on June 6, 2014. She was 69.
Ishigaki was born in Los Angeles and died in Monrovia. She is survived by her husband, Ron Ishigaki, and her daughter Natalie Ishigaki-Saenz, son-in-law Arturo Saenz, and two grandchildren – Kaylaah Kei and Kayleen Keimi Saenz.
Ishigaki served the City of El Monte for 43 years. Its residents have enjoyed the Children’s Day Parade for now two decades, and the Holiday House every December, as a direct result of her efforts. Until recently she was the treasurer of the non-profit Jerry Ortiz Memorial Boxing Gym and Fitness Center, the treasurer of the Chief Emeritus Wayne C. Clayton Foundation, and First Vice President of the El Monte Republican Woman.
Ishigaki reportedly became sick a few months ago and took a turn for the worse on the first week of June. The news of her passing shocked residents and government officials alike, who took to social media outlets to express their condolences.
Ishigaki-Saenz remembers her mother as follows: “As my family and I mourn the loss of my mother, we can’t help but reminisce about our memories with her. My dad recalls her as being such a trooper. She wasn’t much of an outdoorsy type of person, but she would never complain as my dad and her ventured off camping in the back of his truck, fishing all day long or heading up to Fresno for a weekend of waterskiing. My husband, Arturo, remembers her thoughtfulness most, as she treated him like a son. My mom always called him and he says he is going to miss hearing her voice. A couple days ago, my daughters told me they missed Gaga’s face (that is what they called my Mom). She loved her granddaughters more than anything on this planet, she was so proud being their “Gaga.” She loved when they would explore her room, color on her notepads or when they would ask her for lipstick. They were her precious stars and I will always remind them about how amazing my mother was and how she had the ability to make each special occasion over the top for them. That is what I’ll miss the most, the holidays and special dates with her. It was always tradition for the family to sit around the dinner table after each party and talk about how the event unfolded. Everything she did, she did with her heart. She had this big, bold, and beautiful personality with the right amount finesse to make just about anyone feel special, even a stranger. I am honored and proud to be called her daughter. I know she is in a better place now. She left us when she was ready and as she took her last breath she was surrounded by her family and close friends. She will forever be missed.”
A viewing has been scheduled for Monday, June 16, at Rose Hills’ “SkyRose Chapel” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., including a service at 7 p.m. The funeral will be Tuesday, June 17, at Rose Hills’ “SkyRose Chapel” at 1 p.m. These locations are accessible through Rose Hills gate 1.