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Educator, volunteer

As a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps, Anne Yoshie Okada Ayala traveled to Ecuador to teach English.

A Petaluma resident, Mrs. Ayala died of kidney failure on Dec. 20, 2012 at the age of 71.

Mrs. Ayala was born in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii. During elementary and high school, she worked in the Okada Store in Waimea, which was managed by her parents, and as a library aide in the public and school libraries.

After high school, she earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish and literature from Arizona State University, and later attended graduate school at the University of Illinois, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

In 1964, Mrs. Ayala volunteered for the U.S. Peace Corps, traveling to Ecuador as part of a secondary and university education group. She taught English to engineering students and was at the time the only woman teacher at Quito's Escuela Polit?nica (now Universidad Polit?nica). Her future husband was a fellow Peace Corps teacher. They married in 1966 and had two sons.

Summers were spent high in the Andes Mountains, teaching crafts and coaching soccer matches at a YMCA seasonal camp for children.

After leaving Ecuador, she become a librarian in Cali, Colombia, and later moved back to California, working first as an elementary and middle school library aide in Novato, and then teaching elementary school ESL (English as a Second Language) in Santa Rosa and at Corona Creek and Meadow elementary schools in Petaluma.

Mrs. Ayala and her family hand-built their two-story Petaluma home from foundation to roof, together with 10 other families as part of a city-sponsored self-help program.

In her spare time, she was a member of the Friends of the Petaluma Library, the California Native Plant Society, Petaluma Friends in Service to Humanity, and the Snap-y International Folk Dancers. She was also a member of the United Church of Christ in Petaluma.

Mrs. Ayala is survived by her husband of 48 years, Stephen Ayala of Petaluma; children, Alec Ichiro Ayala of Anaheim and Daniel Jiro Ayala of Copenhagen, Denmark; grandchildren; and siblings, Ranceford Okada of Broomfield, Colo., and David Okada of Westchester, Ohio.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28 at the United Church of Christ, 825 Middlefield Drive in Petaluma.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of the Petaluma Library, 100 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma, 94952, or Petaluma Committee on the Shelterless, P.O. Box 2744, Petaluma, 94953.


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