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News Article

Gayle Fillman Sensei Passes On
Posted 12/16/2010 9:15am [from Janet Rosen]

The aikido community of Ukiah and Willits, California is in mourning over the unexpected passing on of Gayle Fillman Sensei on December 14, 2010 at the age of 63. Fillman Sensei began her aikido training in August, 1966, with Richard Kahoalli, Sr. When Koichi Tohei started visiting California a couple of years later she trained with him and also traveled to seminars with him in Hawaii. She opened Ukiah Aikido in 1976 and has been the chief instructor and dojocho since then. In the early 1980s, she met and began to train with Judo Master Keiko Fukuda, who has been her mentor and close friend since then, visiting Ukiah regularly (last in May, 2009). Fillman Sensei has woven herself into the life of this rural community, teaching aikido, self-defense and conflict resolution to everyone from law enforcement professionals to kids in foster care, plus teaching gymnastics, doing choreography, and mentoring countless young people. Under her leadership, Ukiah Aikido has become a community institution, providing martial arts training to up to three generations of some families. She is survived by her life partner of 23 years, Carol Marrington, several siblings, and many nieces, nephews, and godchildren. There will be a viewing at Eversole Mortuary, Ukiah, Friday December 17, from 4 to 8 p.m. with a public memorial to be organized shortly after the New Year. Donations may be made to Redwood Children's Services or the Boys and Girls Club of Ukiah.

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