Jewel Okawachi


Long time Albany Education Foundation board member Jewel Okawachi, passed away on August 14, 2013.  Jewel, who was born Oct. 31, 1928 in San Francisco and lived in the Albany home she grew up in, served two terms on the council (2000-2008), including one year as mayor (2002). She spent many years not only working full-time in her own business, D&S Composing,  and raising her three sons but also devoting her considerable energy to serving on city commissions and otherwise volunteering for the schools and other community needs.

Albany's Terrace Park was renamed Jewel's Terrace Park in 2009 in recognition of her contributions, including her service to Albany parks and green space. She served on the city's Parks & Recreation Commission and the Waterfront Commission, in addition to the Pension Board and the Waste Management Authority Board. The park renaming also recognized her longtime daily walk through the park with her beloved dogs, Pepper, Brie and most recently Sammy.

A 2009 resolution presented to the council for renaming Terrace Park included a list of the many organizations she helped, noting, "Jewel has been a tireless volunteer for Albany, committing her time to the Albany Education Foundation, the Police Activities League, the City’s Youth Task Force, the Prevention Council, the Drug & Alcohol Task Force, Albany Little League, the Boy Scouts, the first Teen Center, Albany High School Track & Field, Albany High Athletic Boosters, the Albany Community Foundation, the Albany Chamber of Commerce, the Solano Avenue Association, the Albany Historical Society, the Friends of the Albany Library, the Friends of the Albany Seniors, and Soroptimist International."

Schools and especially the children were most important to Jewel.  While her boys were in school (following her footsteps at Marin and AHS) she was active in the PTA and a supporter of their athletic teams and Scout troops.  This commitment to education continued throughout her life.  She was a founding board member of AEF and served on the board for many years working diligently on all activities of the organization.  Her focus was always on what would most benefit the students.