On June 13, 1990 a bouncing baby boy was born to Kazuo Nakano and Maria Climaco at the St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco, California. Although the marriage ended in divorce, Aya grew to love and care for Jean Aquino, his mother’s partner who helped raise him for 16 years.
Aya was bright and precocious when he was little but grew up to be a funny, compassionate and a giving young boy. Aya grew up loving sports, in particular basketball and was an avid supporter of the local Golden State Warriors. He was also known for his sunny disposition throughout his elementary days at Notre Dame Elementary School as well as high school days at Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton, California. Aya was quite well liked by his peers. Aya’s happy disposition continued through his college days at University of Oregon where he majored in Sociology and minored in Media Studies/Communication. Having spent four years in Oregon, there is where Aya established lifelong friendships with his easygoing manner, compassionate spirit, loyalty and an infectious zest for life and laughter.
He graduated in 2012 and came back to the Bay Area to live with his mom and Jean. He was fortunate enough to find a job right out of college as an Administrative Assistant. He was learning the ropes of the international logistics industry. Aya showed eagerness and enthusiasm for the job, often teased by co-workers and friends as he would be the only employee dressed with a shirt and tie, considering he was the at the bottom of the office hierarchy. But as easygoing as Aya was, he took his responsibilities seriously. And hence, dressing for success, in addition to learning other aspects of the industry, was something he set out to do. This dedication did not go unnoticed and soon Aya was up for a promotion. In fact, he was to begin his new position the week of his birthday, June 13.
One night, however, while driving home from his usual pick up basketball game from the Cal Rec Center, Aya was rear-ended on Market and Stanford Street where he was summarily shot for the trouble of pulling over to do his duty as a citizen and exchange insurance information with the other party. And thus, on June 12, 2013, an hour away from what would have been his 23rd birthday and less than a mile away from home, Aya Raphael Climaco-Nakano became Oakland’s 45th homicide victim.