Mitsuko "Meme" Schafer, 72, passed away Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Deaconess Gateway Hospital

Mitsuko was born in
Yokohama, Japan on January 11, 1941, to Myoson and Yoshi Iijima.


She married her soul mate, Larry J. Schafer, on May 23, 1961 in Japan and immigrated to the United States in September of that year.


She was extremely honored in becoming a U.S. Citizen on September 17, 1993

Mitsuko proudly dedicated her life to her family as a homemaker, wife, and mother. She wanted many children, but the Lord Blessed her with two of her own. However, she was known as, "Mom", to so many other kids that were always coming into her home and kitchen. She never let one leave without feeding them, hungry or not. 

Her, "Dream Come True" career was co-founding, Kanpai Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, with her best friend of many years, Hiromi Adams. Mitsuko loved to entertain their guests by singing Karaoke and cooking her well loved specialties. Hiromi was the Sushi Master who also sang and entertained. Kanpai opened in August of 1996. The team retired in 2002 to spend more time with family and their beloved Kanpai was sold. It still exists today at the same location. 

She enjoyed attending her grandchildren's events from many basketball games, art exhibits, bowling leagues, and every Grandparent's Day at various schools on the same day. Her hobbies included sewing, artwork, photography, and vacationing with family and Larry. She loved cruises with her and Larry's dear friends, John and Loretta Sloan. 

Mitsuko is survived by her husband of 52 years, Larry "Joe" Schafer; son, Chris (Laila) Schafer; daughter, Kumiko (Chris) Wilkison; grandchildren, Kayman (John) Coloso, Cole Schafer, Conner Schafer, Trey Schafer, and Zane Wilkison; Great grandchild, Christopher J. Coloso (C.J.); brother, Yoshiteru (Fujiko) Iijima of Japan; brother-in-law, Mike (Jayne) Schafer, sister-in-law, Peggy Bottoms, as well as many newphews and nieces in Japan and here in the U.S. 

Mitsuko was preceded in death by her parents; daughter, Kimiko Lynn Schafer; brothers, Yoshiheada, Yoshizumi, Yoshikazu Iijima and her sister, Taeko

Mitsuko's family invites her family and friends to join them, Sunday, March 10, 2013, at Aldersgate United Methodist, 5130 Lincoln Avenue, Evansville, IN, in a celebration of her life and to share loving memories that she brought into so many of our lives.


Visitation will begin at 1:30 pm with Pastor Ken Raymes officiating a memorial service at 2:30 pm. Visitation with family and friends following until 5:00 pm. Ziemer Funeral Home East Chapel is handling the arrangements.