Daniel Shigeru Tanita Obituary – The Arizona Republic

Daniel Shigeru Tanita, loving father, brother, uncle, cousin, son, dentist and more, passed away on September 17, 2022 at the age of 74. Although he was found unresponsive in his sleep, he was rushed to John C Lincoln Hospital where, unable to revive him, he was pronounced dead. Daniel was born on April 14, 1948 to his beloved parents, mother Haruko Shigekawa and father Shigeru Tanita. His mother, the second of seven children and his father, the first of 13 children, left him an incredibly rooted and extended family. As third generation Japanese Americans, Daniel was one of 6 siblings; older sister Joanne Saito, Robert Tanita, Margie Tadano, Glenn Tanita and younger sister Chrissy Morioka. The son of one of the most prominent market gardening families in the West Valley, their family overcame great adversity with uncles and aunts enduring the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II – despite many members who fought for the United States at that particular time – and other bigotry. Despite this, neither he nor any of the family members ever complained, fell victim to, or let it stop their otherwise unbridled success, as he himself became class president in high school, captain of the football team, first in class and much more. ; And with its humble but magnetic buddha like energy. His journey has only led him to success as one of California’s most beloved, top rated, and most sought after dentists. He lived in the Bay Area most of his life, loving it and saying it changed him forever. Daniel met his first wife, Deborah Jean Tanita, who was the mother of his two children, Michiko Haru Tanita, born April 23, 1981 and Kimiko Haru Tanita, born March 15, 1983 was his true soul mate. And even after a separation of more than 30 years, they ended up reconnecting and had just remarried in 2021. Of their two incredible daughters, their first born sadly and unexpectedly passed away in her sleep on September 25, 2020. Little long after their loss, and not even a year before his own passing, they then unexpectedly lost their beloved wife and mother, Deborah, to what turned out to be broken heart syndrome on the 26th December 2021. Her two daughters, Michiko Haru Tanita and Kimiko Haru Tanita, were the loves of her life – as was Kimiko’s longtime partner and fiancé, James Nicol – who was like the son of Daniel and Deborah and a brother of Michiko. To his daughters, James and all of their closest friends, Daniel was the most devoted, loving and supportive father one could ask for. It was his most treasured time at the University of the Pacific Dental School in San Francisco, where he served on the board of trustees and was one of the school’s top fundraisers and advocates. After graduating and starting his own dental practice at age 25, he went on to volunteer, serve on the board of directors, and become president of so many foundations and causes, from the county YMCA from Contra Costa to the Rotary Club and countless others. He always said he owed much of his success to his dear lifelong friend, with whom he co-owned his office space, and his dental colleague, Dr. William Van Dyke. Dr. Daniel S. Tanita’s accomplishments and legacy were many as he tirelessly and selflessly spent his life giving back to others; as a dentist with thousands of dedicated patients, he did not turn anyone away for lack of funds. For those you couldn’t afford, he would find something. Whether it’s an exchange of any kind or always when needed, on a voluntary basis. The backbone of his practice was maintained by his office manager and lifelong friend, Charisse chin Lou, who remains a close member of our family. Among his many accomplishments, he has started a free dental clinic in one of the underserved schools in the East Bay; this clinic he had to start from their janitor’s closet was later funded by the CA Board of Education, giving him a grant to build a state-of-the-art dental clinic right in the school, saving children and parents have to sacrifice their dental health and hygiene for lack of money or time – and to date, this is the first on-site dental program of its kind. The school appropriately named the clinic after him, the Dr. Daniel S. Tanita Dental Clinic at Peres Middle School, Richmond, California. Of the countless other accolades he has received over the years, most of which did not deserve to be considered unexceptional for his work, he was however proudest of the Jefferson Prize, a most prestigious recognition nominated by peers, similar to a Nobel Prize for “the local unknown”. hero”. And the other was his cultural exchange program which he started with Russian dentists in which he started a program through Rotary where he sponsored and hosted countless dentists in order to create a bridge indispensable and to teach the latest technologies to those who want to learn. As a result, he and his daughter Kimiko spent 6 weeks in 2016 traveling through Russia and Siberia to visit many of these incredible lifelong friends. This was in addition to his travels to dozens of countries and cultures, something he loved and instilled in his children.Until his death, all he cared about was giving back, being absolutely selfless and having no never any attachment to material objects or things. Despite this immense heartbreak, there is a poetic beauty in his return to his native country after a full life in the bay that he loved and cherished so much. He was able to reconnect with his siblings and his family and was so happy for the short but joyful few months he spent in Arizona before his death. Because he was so inexplicably loved, there will be three memorial services held for him: The first service will be Saturday, October 1 at 4 p.m. at: 15220 N. 39th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85038 (602) 540-9235 follow… Another service open to the public will be announced in local Bay Area obituaries and on social media – so stay tuned… The other service will be on October 25 at The East Bay , organized by and held for fellow dentists and this great dela community (more details to follow). If you would like more information on this, you can contact his daughter, Kimiko Tanita, or Charisse Le (contact details below). The 3rd service, which is welcome for all who wish to attend, will be announced shortly – published in both local Bay Area newspapers as well as on social media – and ALL are encouraged to join – because he was friend, father, uncle, dentist, hero and much more all over the world. All contributions or donations may be directed to a close friend, Charisse Chin Le, the foremost office manager and the backbone of his thriving dental practice: email: [email protected] phone: 510.367.2529 From Many funds went to the UOP dental school he loved so much and dedicated his life to, but he also fought for those less fortunate and wished such support had been distributed accordingly. She will ensure this happens and all information will be provided to those who wish to give back to the one who has given so much… FAVORITE QUOTES: “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” — Mother Theresa “My religion is kindness” —His Holiness Da;ai Lama “Peace begins with a smile” —Mother Theresa

Posted on September 24, 2022

Posted in The Arizona Republic