Anna Barbara Sakurai dies after car crash


Iconic Webster University professor Anna Barbara Sakurai died Saturday, three days after suffering injuries in a car accident in Portland, Oregon. She was 80.

Sakurai, professor emeritus in the Walker School of Business, had taught at Webster since 1963. Her husband, Webster Professor Ed Sakurai  was also in the car, which struck a parked car Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau. Ed Sakurai suffered non-life threatening injuries and was  by his wife’s side when she passed away in a Portland-area hospital, according to a message from university President Beth Stroble sent to Webster staff and faculty.

“Colleagues say Anna Barbara was a one-of-a-kind role model for Webster faculty, staff and students.”  Stroble wrote in her message announcing Anna Barbara Sakurai’s death. “They say she represented the very best of Webster’s ideals and mission and that caring for others was most important to her, both in and out of the classroom.

”Our deepest sympathy goes to Ed, and to Anna Barbara’s family, friends and colleagues. Anna Barbara will be greatly missed by the entire Webster University Community.”

Anna Barbara Sakurai earned her bachelor’s degree from Webster University in 1956. She joined the faculty as a professor of religious studies seven years later, after completing her master’s degree in education from Loyola University. Anna Barbara Sakurai joined the mathematics and computer science department in 1975 and chaired the department for 14 years. She was the recipient of the 2001 William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s most prestigious teaching honor. Anna Barbara Sakurai retired as a full-time member of the faculty in 2009.

Hundreds of Webster students, staff and faculty have served dinner to the needy one night a month at St. Peter and Paul Church in Soulard, a project initiated by Anna Barbara and Ed Sakurai years ago.

Memorial arrangements are pending.

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  1. I’m deeply saddened by this news.
    Anna B was truly a gift and a treasure.
    My deepest sympathies to her husband, Ed.

    It was an honor to work with Anna B at St. Peter & Paul, and to work with her at Webster University.

  2. This is a great and terrible loss. Anna was a longtime, kind and generous friend, a dedicated volunteer who served poor and homeless individuals and families for many years. Hers was a gentle yet strong spirit and an example to many. She will be greatly missed.
    Tom Burnham
    Peter & Paul Community Services

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