Remembered..Ever Alive in Our Love 

Takeko Hirao 1930 – 2020

Remembering A Life in Poway



    Takeko Hirao first moved to Poway in August, 1960. She had already prepared to live in the US by learning English in her native Japan in the 1950's. She was so proficient in her class, she was elevated to assisting her teacher, Fr. Griffin. One time, the local post office in Hayama sought her help to translate during a customer service matter involving English-speaking visitors. She maintained a correspondence with Fr. Griffin for the next 4 decades and he even named a boat after her when he was re-assigned to Fiji.


     At the time of her arrival to Poway, Takeko was married with two children. A third would soon arrive. Back in those days, Poway had a post office located centrally along Poway Road but no letter carriers. You had to stop by to pick up your mail every week or so. Your elderly neighbors may have been born in the 1800s. Takeko's children were all taught by Victoria Michaels and and they walked or rode their bicycles to Gordon's Grocery store to buy penny candy from Mr. and Mrs. Gordon.


     Back then Takeko (tah-kay-ko) was also known as Maria, or Marie. She maintained life-long relationships with her neighbors. She took care of the earth by composting kitchen scraps. She paid attention to her garden. Where Takeko lived, there were roses.


     Sometimes the pantry was low but she always managed to put a meal together for her family even if lunch was sardines and crackers or chipped beef. If her husband was away overseas, she cut the lawn herself by pushing a manual lawn cutter. Back then no-iron sheets wasn't a thing and washing day included ironing bed-sheets and cotton shirts—after they were first hung up to dry on the outdoor clothesline. This is particularly significant as her first home did not have air conditioning. When she didn't have a budget to do things, Takeko became resourceful. She bought quilted fabric and sewed beautiful, tailored bedspreads.


      Poway Unified School District tapped Takeko to teach evening classes on Japanese cooking. She put together lesson plans, typed out recipes and taught adult classes on how to make dashi, sukiyaki and her famous teriyaki steak.




     In the early 1970's, Takeko moved to a larger home in central Poway. She took oil painting lessons from well-known Escondido western artist, Velda Flynn. She learned to crochet and made several items. Takeko's children all graduated from Poway High School.


     In the late 70s, there were changes in Takeko's life and she moved to Poway Royal Estates Mobile Home Park with her youngest child.



1980s and 1990s


     In the early 1980s, Takeko welcomed her granddaughter. Takeko continued to live peacefully at the mobile home park and made new friends there. One time, her neighbor had a falling out with her own family and was alone for Thanksgiving. Takeko fixed a dinner plate and sent it over to her. The neighbor became emotional for not being forgotten during the holiday and started to cry.


        Sometime in the 1990s, another neighbor started to give Takeko rides to the Poway Senior Center, which was then located nearby in the Weingart Center.  Takeko was soon looking forward to visiting the Senior Center and participating in activities such a exercise classes and social events. One year, she even won the Halloween costume contest by dressing up as Harpo Marx. Oh yes, Takeko could be competitive!


     One day Takeko received a written recognition from the mobile home park management for her beautiful and neatly-kept garden. She was particularly proud of her stunning pink camellia shrub which was placed in the front of her home.





     Takeko enjoyed visits by her now grown children and enjoyed being taken out for birthdays and Mother's Day. She went on a trip and saw the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Of course, she won some money on a slot machine on Fremont Street.


     In the mid 2000s, Takeko became a US citizen. And she voted for the first time. She was very proud of this. In a world where everyone has to find their place, Takeko's home was Poway and her adoptive country, the United States. She expressed gratitude for the life she was able to live here.


     In 2014, Takeko moved in with her eldest son in Santee. In December 2020, she passed away in hospice from unrecoverable damage due to corona virus. Her family wishes everyone to be mindful of pandemic protocols and just be extra careful, stay safe and not forgo risk or the safety of others.



     In these times, a gathering or memorial may not be an option. In lieu of flowers, please remember or honor Takeko Hirao, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, longtime Poway resident and US citizen by considering a donation to the Poway Senior Center. If not, you can honor Mrs. Hirao through a kind gesture to others in 2021.

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Takeko Hirao 1990s

San Diego Safari Park

(was San Diego Wild Animal Park)

Rudolph Halabuk.png

Our Hearts Our Broken. We are saddened to announce the passing of Rudy Karol Halabuk. Rudy was a long time member of the center and loved his Poway Bingo friends. The Poway Senior Center family wishes his loved ones and his friends peace, love and support during this difficult time.

Randolph Karol Halabuk
Scripps Ranch

Rudy “Babe” Halabuk, 90, was born August 19, 1929, during the Great Depression and passed away May 23, 2020, during the Pandemic of heart failure. He was the youngest child born to his parents who immigrated from Czechoslovakia and was born in Trenton NJ along with 5 siblings (he was the last surviving).

Rudy earned the nickname “Babe” early in life and it stayed with him throughout his life. He had a stellar athletic career and in High School he was an all-star in baseball, basketball and soccer. He made All-State soccer and played a season of professional soccer.


He was All-City in basketball and played a year of professional basketball. He also played in the American Legion Baseball for Trenton who came in in 2nd in the National Finals (which is like the Little League World Series). During High School his baseball team played for the State Championship when in the 11th inning “Babe” hit the longest home run ever seen by a high schooler, which won that State Championship game. He was then signed to play professional baseball with the Philadelphia Athletics as a center fielder, he was known for his speed and stole more bases than anyone. He played 3 years in Minor League Baseball before being drafted into the service.

Rudy moved to San Diego joining the Navy where he served on the USS Talladega which patrolled the Asian Coast during the Korean War. While in the service he was an outstanding baseball and basketball player. In his first year in the Navy he was recruited onto the Navy Baseball team, contributing to their winning the Military World Championship that year.

Rudy worked at Ryan Aeronautical for 37 years and was Manager of Production and Tool Control. They made unmanned Drones (spy planes), engines for the DC8 plane, fuselages for the KC135 refueling tanker plane, attack Apache Helicopters, and a navigation system for lunar landing. He played for the Ryan basketball team and earned top scorer in the league. During his first year at Ryan he was also a star on their baseball team, leading them to win the San Diego Baseball Association American League. Rudy even bowled a 290 game in the Ryan league.

He met his wife Allene while at the dog races and would tease her that she was the only person who won at the track that day saying, “you won me.”

He continued his athletic career coaching his kids in sports, teaching them math, and being the best role model to his children and grandchildren. He was active 6 days every week playing poker, bingo, calling bingo, and telling jokes, but on Sundays he rested.

Rudy had a kind heart and loved to joke to make his family and friends laugh. He loved all his family and is survived by his children Cindi Brookes and partner Steve Johnson, Dave and wife Patty, Dan and wife Jeanette, his grandchildren Allison Goodrich and husband Dave, Chuck Brookes, Nicole, Natalie, and his great granddaughter Olivia Goodrich.

He was preceded in death by his wife Allene (Jessen) in 1998 and his grandson Davey in 2007. He will be laid to rest alongside his beloved wife in Ramona.