Ako married a doctor, and while he was attached to the U.S. military she spent time in Germany. Later he worked in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where she spent time painting the desert and cultures of the Middle East.
As monitor Ako was both conscientious and generous. She was constantly promoting the classes to her Japanese friends, and for a while, when I was without a studio sufficiently large to host classes, she lent her Pioneer Square studio in the 619 building for the purpose.
Ako's painting was an attempt to marry her long relationship living in the United States with her Japanese upbringing. She expressed her attitude best in her artist's statement on her website:
Culture must be actively supported otherwise it is rapidly lost. Once lost it is gone forever. Our experience is transitory and fragile, but our expression lives on.
Ako passed away in 2012, after a long illness. She was 79 years old. Her work can be seen at https://www.akostudio.com .