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The Villages
Friday, February 23, 2024

Yoko Rich

Yoko Rich
Yoko Rich

Yoko Rich (Meinhardt-Leye)
1936 – 2024

In loving memory of Yoko, May 2, 1936 – January 24, 2024. Yoko was a strong woman who began life living on a rice farm in Japan. She spent her final years in Florida, in her American Dream town.

Yoko met her husband Bill Meinhardt in Japan where he served as a Marine. After his discharge, they corresponded through letters, and he returned to Japan to ask her to marry him. They returned to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and raised their daughters Donna and Patti. During her years in Greenpoint and then in Elmhurst Queens, Yoko was a seasoned buyer for Katagiri, the iconic gift shop on E 59th St in NYC. She also enjoyed sewing and gardening.

Yoko endured enormous heartache when she lost her husband Bill at the age of 50. Yoko married twice after that (to Gert Leye and Ed Rich) and became care givers for each before they passed.

When Yoko retired and moved to Florida, she moved into an amazing neighborhood in The Villages. She made lots of friends, started both an Asian club as well as a Japanese Club, and travelled back to Japan as well as through Europe. Yoko continued her love of gardening, now including fruit trees and many vegetables. She was also known for her New York style cheesecake.

Yoko’s legacy lives on through her daughters Donna White (John, deceased) and Patti Frering (Keith), and grandchildren Cassandra Mea, Lia Frering, and Luke Frering. Yoko has numerous nieces and nephews, both in the U.S. and Japan.

Florida became not just a residence for Yoko but a sanctuary, especially under the devoted care of Gaelynn Anderson (Gaelynn’s Home Care), who was a cherished friend and care giver in her later years. Yoko chose to bask in the Florida sun as she grew older and she lived out her American Dream.

Yoko will be buried next to Bill and services will be held in early Spring in New York.

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