Masako Yamada Kenley, age 53, passed away on Friday, July 2, 2021.
Masako was born in Yokohama, Japan on November 10, 1967. She attended an all-girls Buddhist high school and, in 1977, met missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She made the decision to be baptized, which would impact every aspect of her life to follow.
After graduating from an English university, Masako served a faithful mission for the Church in Osaka, Japan. Upon completing her service, Masako moved to Utah in January of 1991. She attended LDS Business College, graduating in 1994. On October 29, 1994, Masako married her eternal companion, Bill Kenley, in the Salt Lake City temple. Their forever family grew with the addition of four beautiful children and, more recently, that of a fantastic daughter-in-law.
Masako was proud to be Japanese, never losing her love for her homeland, its language, and culture. The strength of her relationship with her family was undeterred by miles, and, together, they created an enduring bond between her home in Utah and her roots in Japan. Her Utah family has wonderful memories of time spent with Masako’s family from Japan, and their love for one another will continue.
Masako loved her extended family and never missed family gatherings. She was an accomplished cook and, despite her small frame, loved to eat. She was often found circling the table after meals, seeing what was left uneaten to finish things up. Her command of English was excellent, and, on the rare occasion that it wasn’t, she laughed along with everyone else at the results. She was exceptionally supportive of her nieces and nephews, not only attending every event, but cheering more loudly than anyone and snapping pictures of just about everything.
Masako valued relationships and was interested in everyone she met. She could work a room in a way that made every interaction intimate and sincere, paying special attention to those who appeared alone or uncomfortable. There were few adventures she wasn’t up to. She shopped for anyone, especially relishing the chance to shop for her larger-than-average brothers-in-law. She was well known for being a confidant and listening ear; when you talked to her, you knew she cared. She leaves behind countless best friends, all of whom know for a fact that they were her favorite.
Masako was a loyal employee of the United States Postal Service for over 20 years. She cherished the friendships she developed and the skills she learned through her job. Most recently, she could be found driving a forklift and wearing a hard-hat.
Masako found a wonderful home with neighbors in both her Kearns and Sandy communities, and thrived through the support and fellowship they shared. She was faithful in her ward and in her church callings, working in Primary, Young Women’s, Relief Society as well as many years in the Nursery. While she enjoyed each calling, she especially loved her Young Women.
Masako’s greatest joy was in being a wife and mother. To that end she nurtured an unshakable testimony of the Gospel and instilled this faith in each of her amazing children. She encouraged their growth and was their most vocal cheerleader. They will never doubt her love for them, or its never-ending nature.
Masako is survived by her husband Bill; children Micah (Chelsea), Julia, Sean, and Paige; her parents, Yukinobu and Sachie Yamada; her brother, Yukito (Yurika) Yamada; her sister, Harumi (Shito) Yamada Sato; and her Utah family: parents-in-law Lynn and Jean Kenley; sisters-and-brothers-in-law Kristen (Scott) Bakker, David (Wendi) Kenley, Eric Kenley, Elizabeth (Mikkel) Storm, Paul (Carolyn) Kenley; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Masako’s family would like the thank her many friends, coworkers, neighbors, her local ward and stake, her bishop and other Church leadership, and even complete strangers for the outpouring of support they have offered during this time.
Funeral services will be at noon on Monday, July 12th at the church on 11626 South 300 East. There will be visitations at Larkin Sunset Gardens (1950 East Dimple Dell Rd. - 10600 South) on Sunday, July 11th from 5:00PM-8:00PM, and at the church beginning Monday at 10:30AM.
Masako leaves behind ample love and strength to help us manage through the darkest of times. She will be deeply missed until that unimaginably joyful day when we’re together again.
I didn’t personally know Masako. I worked at the REC for a while and know a couple of her friends who have spoken of her kind, loving nature. I wish your family all the best and the courage to move through this difficult time until that reunion in heaven where families can never be parted again. Families are forever! What a sweet comfort. My deepest prayers and hugs to each of you at this time.
I worked with Masako at the REC many years ago and have never forgotten her vibrant personality. She could light up any room with her beautiful smile and positive attitude. Hugs and prayers to you and your family. May you find peace and comfort during difficult days ahead.
My sincere sympathy for Bill and his family blessings your way I know I’m my heart that God will give you the strain to be strong in this difficult time God bless you all.
I've worked with Masako several times. She was genuinely one of the nicest person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Her infectious smile and personality will be missed. May God be with you during this time of heart ach.
Words cannot express how sorry I am for you and your sweet family's loss. I pray for strength for all of you and I know that your memories will be a comfort. The plate you both gave me upon my retirement has always had a special place in my home and my heart. That will continue as it is a symbol of Masako's kindness and sweet spirit.
Love to all,
Prayers for your family
Nothing I can say will make a bit of difference, but my heart keeps coming back to the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose," and to those of the Lord, given to our Prophet Joseph in D&C 59:21, that we must confess the Hand of God in all things.
Bill, my heart is broken for you and your family, but I know that the hand of our Heavenly Father is in all things, and that somehow He will bring good to you and your family through this, even if that seems impossible now. When He brings you all back together again, this pain and suffering will seem like a dream that never happened. Until then, she will be the still, small voice that guides you in your temple work, that whispers to your children and grandchildren, and that watches over you all.
Hard to imagine Masako having a still small voice though. More like, she'll be the happy, boisterous, joyous voice that talks too fast. Just the same, she is and always will be yours, this I know and believe. You're always in my prayers, old friend.
What a bright light and blessing she was to this world! Our hearts & prayers go out to your family.
I would like to send my condolences and the comforts of God to the family and friends of Masako. Even though I didn’t know her, I can tell she was loved and will be dearly missed. I will pray for all who was close to her for the future ahead.
Take care and God bless to all.
My condolences to your family & loved ones. ❤️🙏🏻
Masako was full of love and light. She helped me and my family during a difficult time. She will be remembered and loved always.💜
There are no words to express my sincere sorrow for you all. She touched many lives and certainly left a positive impact on our world.
She will be deeply missed. My prayer is you will be blessed with peace and comfort at this time and always.
I wanted to send my heartfelt condolences. I didn't have the opportunity of meeting her or anyone in the family, but as she was a friend of a friend, I had the opportunity to read her beautiful obituary. What an amazing woman! And what a blessing to have The Church of Jesus Christ and its teachings of The Plan of Salvation, to know that there is life after death and that we can be with our families forever. To know that we will see our loved ones again someday. (((((((HUGS))))))) May all her family and friends be blessed with peace and comfort at this time and always!
Masako is a beautiful daughter, wife, mother and friend. I was privileged to teach her the gospel and to witness her family join the Church. My life has been so very blessed and full because of Masako and her family. The emptiness I feel at her passing is a reminder of how much I love her and her family. She will be greatly missed!!
I loved Masako. She was my all time favorite room parent and classroom helper. She loved going on field trips, helping in the classroom, and she was always so generous with making me feel special. When I had Paige, her mom was in town from Japan and she brought her to all of our classroom events and field trips. It was so fun having her a part of our celebrations. I would always run into Masako in Sandy and she would always give me the biggest hug. Please know I am praying for your family.
Masako’s husband and children. I am so sorry for your loss. Masako was so wonderful such an amazing person. I’m blessed to have known her I met her through work.. I’m a driver, she was the expediter at the time. She was the first smile that greeted me every night, she was the type of person that just left such an impression and you definitely remembered her. I am so saddened by her passing and I send my condolences to you your family is in my prayers.