Komiyama (nee Yamazaki), Lillian May (1922-2014)

Although she suffered severe discrimination because of her Japanese ancestry, May’s Christian faith and personal values provided a basis for her positive vision of life.  While her internment during WW II forced her to leave her nursing training at VGH, she was eventually one of two oriental girls accepted for training at Guelph General Hospital, graduating in 1946.  She worked in the Public Health system in Toronto, and received a diploma in Public Health nursing (UofT) and, later, a BSN (UBC) in 1976   She retired from Holy Family Hospital in 1984 as the Assistant Director of Nursing. Her sister, Yasuko Yamazaki, graduated from VGH in 1938., received a diploma in PHN from UBC in 1939 and was the first Japanese public health nurse in Vancouver.

Married to the Reverend Takashi Komiyama, she was also active in the United Church, raising concerns about the acceptance and recognition of all visible minorities.  In 1991 she received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology at UBC.

Contents of Biographical File

  1. Biographical Information Profile
  2. “May Komiyama: Beacon for the Ethnic Church.”  In The First Book of Saints:  Ten Profiles in Mission. Ed. Dean Salter, United Church Publishing House, 1988, pp. 97-105.
  3. Dr. May Komiyama, ”Hovering Over the Water Project.” In The Water Project: Continuing Conversation, ed. Ray McGinnis.
  4. May Komiyama, “Progress in Seventy-Five Years,” In Living the Experience: 75 Years in the United Church of Canada (1925-2000).
  5. Obituary
  6. Photograph
  7. Summary of Oral History by Ethel Warbinek.
  8. Oral History Referral Sheet
  9. “Some Background History”
  10. Letter from Naomi Miller to Ethel Warbinek, July 21, 2003