By Kathy Chouteau
A community gathering “Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Daniel S. Tanita” will be held Sat., Oct. 22 starting at 1 p.m. at Peres Elementary School, 717 5th St. in Richmond. Dr. Tanita, a longtime dentist before his retirement, passed away last month.
The celebration of Dr. Tanita—who operated “The Dr. Daniel Dental Clinic” at Peres—will include music, his life history, reflections by loved ones and more, according to hosts Charisse Chin-Le and Don Lau. A catered reception will follow.
Dr. Tanita was a dedicated community volunteer who founded the aforementioned free dental clinic in a janitor’s closet at Peres Elementary in 1997. He went on to volunteer his expertise once or twice per month at the Peres Dental Clinic, which today has a much larger and improved space.
In April of this year, a “Passing of the Toothbrush” ceremony was celebrated at the Peres Dental Clinic as Dr. Tanita prepared to retire to Arizona and Dr. Josh Rosales took the helm of both the clinic and the elder dentist’s separate private practice, San Pablo Smiles.
“As many of you know, my dear friend of 40 years Dr. Dan Tanita passed away on Sept. 18 in Phoenix,” remarked Richmond Rotary Community Service Chair Don Lau on his Facebook page. Lau, who said Dr. Tanita worked as Rotary Club president from 1993-1994, said his friend also was “a volunteer leader with the West Contra Costa YMCA, serving as board chair and leading numerous fundraising campaigns.”
In advance of the celebration of life, organizers addressed the Japanese funerary tradition of a monetary condolence gift by noting that, while the memorial isn’t traditionally Japanese, they are honoring this tradition out of respect for Dr. Tanita. “While contributions in any form are welcomed, there’s no expectation for guests to follow the strict guidelines of Koden,” they stated.