Fumiko Radile, 86, of Madison Heights, passed away on Friday, July 7, 2023, at her home, after a short period dealing with cancer. She was born in Tokyo, Japan on November 14, 1936. Fumiko’s parents, now deceased, were Susumu and Noriko Yamaguchi.
Fumiko had three missions in life: to raise her sons to be good people, to teach Japanese language as well as she could, and, after retiring from teaching, to volunteer in any way she could to help others. All through her life, Fumiko had an exterior properness and dignity, but also an interior sense of spirit and resolve. She may have appeared fragile, but she was daring and very strong, in all senses of the word.
Fumiko was one of the first American Field Service students who came to the US from Japan, in 1954. She graduated from International Christian University in Tokyo, in 1960. While in Syracuse from 1970 to 1975 with her first husband, Nobuo Dobashi, now deceased, Fumiko taught Japanese at Syracuse University, as their first Japanese language instructor. She later taught Japanese by appointment of the U.S. State Department, in Sapporo, Japan. In 1986, Fumiko taught Japanese at Cornell University for one year, and then, beginning in 1987, at the University of Oregon for five years. Fumiko earned a Master’s degree at the University of Oregon in 1992. Also that year, Fumiko accepted a joint appointment with Randolph Macon Woman’s College and with Sweet Briar College. She retired in 2006, after 15 very happy years at those schools.
Her volunteering work included the Gateway, Interfaith Out-Reach, Jones Memorial Library, Legacy Museum, Lynchburg Daily Bread, Lynchburg University Beard Center on Aging, Meals on Wheels, and the First Unitarian Church. Fumiko gained many close friends along the way, from former students, fellow teachers, church members, and other volunteers.
Fumiko is survived by her loving husband of 33 years, David M Radile, of Madison Heights. Fumiko’s two sons, Masato and Yoshito Dobashi (both now in their mid-50s, and good people, as she wished), her grandson, Taiga Dobashi, her sister, Tomoko Hasumi, her brothers, Takeshi and Itaru Yamaguchi, and several nephews, nieces, and cousins, all live in Japan.
Fumiko’s wishes for anatomical donation have been carried out, through the Virginia Anatomical Donation Program, in Richmond, VA. Instead of a funeral or flowers, Fumiko would have appreciated donations to charities that she favored, including Doctors without Borders, Food for the Poor, Lynchburg Daily Bread, Meals on Wheels, Mercy Ships, and Operation Smile, or any charity helping the poor.
A living memorial of Fumiko, including condolences, stories, and photos, is being created by her husband, David Radile, for posting online, through Tharp Funeral Home. An announcement of when this website is ready for friends to provide their memories of Fumiko will be made by David Radile by email.
Tharp Funeral Home and Crematory, Lynchburg is assisting the family.