Keiko Tarama Sullivan was born on the island of Ishigaki, Japan, on January 6, 1949. Her parents were Taisuke and Sadako Tarama. She has three older brothers, Akira, Shohei, and Katsuya and two younger sisters, Estuko and Kazumi. She was the oldest daughter and took on the role of cooking and taking care of her siblings at the age of five while her parents owned and worked at several businesses. At the age of fifteen, she left home and went to work in a sewing factory to send money home to her family and finished high school at night. She went to Cosmetology School and graduated when she was twenty-two.
Keiko met her husband, Charles Victor Sullivan of 43 years, on the island of Okinawa, Japan, in March 1972. They were married August 10, 1972 in Okinawa and moved to Mississippi later that year. She stayed home to raise her four children; Joe, Melvin, Cindy and Sarah, while her husband worked in the oil industry. In 1989, Charles came home and for the next twenty-four years, she worked side by side with him every day in the poultry business.
Keiko’s life was devoted to her family. She was the glue that held everyone together. She showed love through cooking and was known for her ability of blending Japanese and southern comfort foods. Keiko’s family is uniquely close and it is because of her love and dedication to them. She loved her family selflessly and her needs were always last. She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She was the definition of love in her family. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong doings. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Keiko’s family was the center of her life and she was the center of theirs.
Keiko, or as she was affectionately called “Lil mama”, is survived by her husband; Charles V. Sullivan; her children, Joe Sullivan (Mechelle), Melvin Sullivan, Cindy Kennedy (Dakota) and Sarah Sullivan. She was known as Memaw by her five grandchildren that she loved helping raise; Autumn, Gracie, Elena, Shelby and Maddox.
A visitation will be held Monday, April 4, 2016 from 5:00 pm - 8pm at Tutor Funeral Home in Magee, MS. Additional visitation will be held from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on April 5, 2016 with the service following at 2:00 pm at the funeral home. She will be laid to rest at New Sardis Baptist Church Cemetery.
Arrangements are entrusted with the care of Tutor Funeral Home of Magee.