On Bodhi Day last year, Dec. 8, 2020, we lost our good friend, Lynne Ozawa. It was an auspicious day for Lynne to transition to Buddhahood, but it was the wrong year. Lynne passed just a month after her 65th birthday. It should have occurred a quarter-century, or more, from now. We should not have had to part with her this past year.
I had not known that Lynne’s middle name was Midori until she passed on. It was so fitting that she was named for the color of life, green. It was equally auspicious that Lynne passed on the same day we commemorate the Buddha’s Enlightenment. She was a good friend to so many of us and did much good for the Buddha-dharma and for her fellow humans, whatever their religious affiliation. Forgive me for taking your time to speak about her if you did not know her.
I was honored to officiate at the wedding for Lynne and her husband John’s son, Robert, and his bride Shirley in the fall of 2019. Lynne was already battling cancer by then and had to be taken by medical transport to the happy event. Lynne was not going to let a matter such as cancer treatment stop her from attending the wedding of her beloved son.
I first arrived at Pasadena Buddhist Temple in 2015. Only five months later, John and Lynne Ozawa befriended me at the International Women’s Buddhist conference in Calgary. Lynne and John transported me from hotels to museums, to the conference center, and to restaurants, where they paid for my dinner. Although I was new to the community, Lynne and her family made sure I felt welcome.
When the washer and dryer failed in the minister’s residence, it was Lynne who went out and selected, purchased and arranged for installation of a new washer and dryer. Then she gave me funds to buy new shirts to replace ones that had been torn up when the dryer went out.
These are personal reflections, stuff that you might not need to know … but they remind me of who Lynne Ozawa was: a good, warm, thoughtful, patient, kind, fun, forgiving and accepting woman who was loved by all who knew her. This is what I want you to know about Lynne Ozawa. There has not been a day since she passed that I have not spent time warmly remembering her.
Lynne Ozawa also served as Chair of the BCA Archives & Historical Preservation Committee. UCLA described our BCA Archives as “the most important collection of Japanese American history in the world.” Lynne was instrumental in the transfer of the BCA Archives to UCLA, where it now permanently resides. Namo Amida Butsu