August 22, 2010, Irene Itsuko Okano, passed away peacefully at the Health Sciences Centre with her children at her side. Current members of Rhythmic Gymnastics Manitoba will recognize Irene’s name through the prestigious RGM award named in her honor, the Irene Okano Volunteer of the Year Award.
Irene was a member of Rhythmic Gymnastics Manitoba Board of Directors from 1977 – 1982. Irene played active role in establishment of many legacies of Rhythmic Gymnastics Manitoba including establishment of the Provincial Team Program and the High Performance Training Centre. She was a mother of Pamela Okano, who was one of the first members of the RGM Provincial Team, member of the National Team, coach of the 1985 five time Canada Games gold medalist Lisa Merritt, assistant coach at the High Performance Training Centre from 1986- 1988.
Irene’s contribution to rhythmic gymnastics in Manitoba will be always remembered. Please read the Obituary as appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, August 28th, 2010.