Tomiko  Smyth

Obituary of Tomiko Sato Smyth



March 26, 1938 – November 9, 2020


It is with very great sadness that we report Tomiko’s death as a result of the untreatable spread of an aggressive cancer.


Tomiko was born in Fukushima Prefecture in Japan to Tomizo and Toku Sato.  She grew up in a family with two older brothers and two younger sisters.  Life for a young family during the war was difficult, but the city, an administrative centre far away from Tokyo, was not a frequent target and her father, an active member of the civilian police force, was at home.


She attended excellent local elementary and high schools and was accepted into Fukushima City’s Sakura-no-Seibu Junior College which is affiliated with Notre Dame in Montreal.  In college she focused on her English studies which led to her being awarded an International House Scholarship through the American Embassy in Tokyo.  She spent the next three years at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, graduating with a B.Sc. degree in 1960.  She remained in regular touch with her International House classmates around the world, travelled widely, and attended reunions, including a large anniversary reunion in Paris.


While in Jacksonville she met Jeffrey Smyth, a fellow student in the International House.  He returned to England to complete his studies and Tomiko returned to Tokyo where she worked as a legal secretary to the senior partner of a prominent American law firm.  Six years later they were married in England and returned to the United States for a brief stay in Princeton, NJ, before moving to Toronto, where they have lived ever since.


Before her son Peter was born, Tomiko worked full time as secretary to the head of the Toronto Reference Library, and then part time in the library, almost 20 years in total.  For more than 40 years, she was a member of the Granite Club with a lively circle of friends in both the tennis section and the aquafit section.  She sang in the Trillium Choir, Toronto’s Japanese ladies’ choir, was a member of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and supported many of Toronto’s arts and cultural organizations.


Tomiko is survived by Jeffrey, her loving husband of 55 years, and she will be greatly missed by her son Peter and his wife Lin, by her three grandsons, Nate, Liam and Jake, and by two sisters and a brother who still live in Fukushima.


When appropriate in the new year, details of a reception for friends and relatives to celebrate Tomiko’s life will be announced.  In thanks for their kind care, donations may be made to or to a charity of your choice, and condolences may be forwarded to her family through