KIYOOKA: Frank of Valemount Formerly of Hinton, Jasper, Edmonton, Opal


It is with bittersweet sadness that we must share with all those who knew and loved him that our dad, Frank Kiyooka, passed away on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017. We are so thankful he did not suffer and that he is now home with his beloved Ann.

Frank was born under the blue Alberta skies in Calgary, Alberta on December 8, 1932, to Kiyoshi Oe and Shigekiyo Kiyooka, our grandparents, who both came to Canada from Kochi-ken, Shikoku, Japan. Frank was the second-youngest of seven children. He spent his childhood with his brothers and sisters as a prairie boy on a farm in rural Opal.??

Frank studied Physical Education and Art at the University of Alberta and got his first teaching job in Jasper, Alberta. After two years studying, travelling and skiing in Denmark and Europe, he met a Scottish lass on the train as he crossed Canada on his way home. She was our mother Ann, who was coming west to work as a nurse.

Frank and Ann married in 1963 in Hinton, Alberta, where Frank taught high school for almost 20 years. During this time he also pursued his love of pottery. He sold his red Carmen Ghia sportscar in 1964 to fund a year of studying and apprenticing in Kyoto, Japan and then set up a studio and shops in Jasper and in Hinton in the years to follow.

?The prairie boy in Frank never forgot the feeling of the wide open spaces. At 48, he left his job and built a home on 75 acres west of the Rockies near Valemount, B.C. Boldly going on faith he’d find work, he took labourer jobs at the mill and CN Rail, then was fortunate to get a position at the elementary school, where he taught for another 15 years.

??Frank had great respect for and a way of connecting with people that left them feeling truly seen. He was loved by many of his students who affectionately called him “Mr. K.” He lived “zen,” embracing life as it came, content with little, grateful and able to be in the present moment. Simply by how he lived, he taught us quiet faith, patience, appreciation for art, creativity and beauty, a love for nature and space. He modelled humility, respect and acceptance of others. We loved his smiling eyes and playful teasing. ??Frank is survived by his sisters Irene and Joyce, his brother Harry, sons Gen and Sumio, daughters Sachiko and Hanae, and grandchildren Elena, Emi, Marin, Siri, Elijah and Paul. So hard to let him go, but he is with Ann now. He lived a wonderful life and we were blessed to be part of it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017, 1:00 p.m. Funeral mass at the Tete Jaune Community Hall near Valemount, B.C., Gathering to celebrate Frank’s life will follow at Tete Jaune Community Hall. Sunday September 17, 2017: 11 – 5 Open House at Franks’ home: 1336 – 3rd Avenue.

We would love to hear from you. If you wish to send condolences or share memories of Frank, please send them to Frank’s daughter, Sachiko Kiyooka at:

Share this Obituary:
Translate »