Dr. Russell Clyde Tontz Jr., D.D.S., of Point Loma, San Diego was called home to Heaven on October 31, 2018. After a commendable battle with cancer, Russell peacefully took his last breath surrounded by loved ones. Born October 8, 1943, Russ enjoyed and embraced each day of his 75 years here on earth. Russ is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years Maureen and a legacy of loved ones, including his treasured ten children: Dr. Russell III (Kara), Joseph (Evangelina), Dr. Paul, Bryan, Mary, John, Eileen Paradis (Robby), Timothy, Jeanne Martignetti (Nick), and Dr. Allison, as well as his cherished ten grandchildren: Denyse, Nicole, Thomas, Ryan, Kailyn, Alexa, Hailey, Leo, Cole, and Camille. He is also survived by his three dear siblings: sister Mary Anne O’Neill (Marty), brother and best friend Dr. Bill Tontz (Terry), and sister Lorie Walker (Mark). Russ, lovingly referred to as “Uncle Russ” by many, was particularly known as such by his many adored nieces and nephews. Russ also leaves behind many beloved friends around the country, primarily many throughout the Point Loma/Ocean Beach area where he loved to participate in and serve his community with a smile. He is preceded in death by his parents Russell and Marie Tontz, his nephew John Brady, his niece Christina O’Neill, and many dear friends.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Russ graduated from Loyola College, Maryland in 1965. While attending, he dominated on the tennis courts and earned his induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 for his key role on the 1963 undefeated tennis team. Russ continued on to Georgetown University for dental school and was awarded his Degree of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 1969. Following dental school, Russ joined the United States Navy. He served his country on the USS Independence aircraft carrier and duty stations at Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, and NMCSD from 1969-1975 continuing his duty in the reserves separating at the rank of CDR.. While stationed in San Diego, God led him to his best friend and love of his life, Maureen. Six months later, both devout Catholics, they were married in June 1970 at the Mission of San Luis Rey alongside Russ’ brother Bill and Maureen’s sister, Terry in a double wedding. Together, the four of them, raised their respective ten children (both sets of 6 boys and 4 girls), in Point Loma. The Tontz family patriarch, Russ always put his family first, no matter the self-sacrifice required. He never viewed the sacrifice as such, instead cherished this role as father and provider. He served his family with an eager, admirable joy. He was a loyal, loving, dedicated father, grandfather, husband, uncle, brother, and friend.
Russ tirelessly served the community of Ocean Beach (OB) and Point Loma for over 40 years through his Family Dental practice. A staple on Sunset Cliffs Blvd, his office sat just across the street from his home parish of Sacred Heart where he frequented daily mass with Maureen and his children. Russ loved his patients and showed this not only through his gentle, conservative, meticulous work on their teeth, but also and more importantly through his caring smile, sense of humor, genuine patient interest and uncanny ability to make everyone feel at home and a part of the family--even in the dental chair. Russ lived his Christian values by reaching out to the homeless, the elderly, the financially strained, and the infirmed and by caring for them as Jesus would. Without judgment, without financial concern, without reservations, Russ made time to help others anyway he could; this aid typically manifested itself in his God-given talent of dental care, but certainly not exclusively. To meet Russ, was to become his friend, and to know Russ, was to love him.
Russ loved tennis, dentistry, sunsets, his late pug “Little Man”, books, science, music, expanding and sharing his knowledge, Ocean Beach, Poma’s, Nico’s, RJS, OB Donuts, the desert, among many other things. Above all else, Russ loved his wife, his partner in everything, Maureen. Following this great love, was his children and grandchildren, his brother Bill, his sister-in-law Terry and their children, his beloved sisters Mary Anne and Lorie, their spouses Marty and Mark, and their children, his extended family, his friends, and God. A philosopher and scientist, wise in many subjects, he spent most of his free time passionately sharing his knowledge with others and indirectly serving as a teacher and life coach for anyone he encountered. His humble ability to disarm a stranger with a smile, to not take himself or life too seriously and his gift of love for all people, are all things Russ would want to be remembered for and emulated by. Live Simply, Love God, Serve Others.
A Memorial Mass to celebrate Russ’ life and legacy will be celebrated at 10 AM on Saturday, November 10th at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Point Loma, 2802 Cadiz Street, San Diego, CA 92110.
All are welcome, no matter one’s religious affiliation. Uncle Russ would want you ALL there!