Dr. Russell Clyde Tontz Jr., DDS
October 8, 1943 – October 31, 2018
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!
- Memorial Mass Saturday, November 10, 2018
Dr. Russell Clyde Tontz Jr., DDS
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Lynn Chambers Redmond
January 14, 2019
I was just remembering old times while watching a tennis match and came across the news of Russ’s passing. Please know that I still have fond memories of your family and the many fun times we shared.
December 27, 2018
I met Russ at Georgetown Dental School where we were both students, both worked as chauffeur for the Universities President, and occasionally played tennis together. We kept in touch after graduation as Naval Officers, professionally as dentists, and as just good friends. God speed Russ, and condolences to his family.
Mike & Anita Moore
November 15, 2018
We are so sad to hear of Russ’ passing. We met him and his family here at Outdoor Resort of Palm Springs a place he enjoyed coming to and playing tennis.
Our sincere condolences to Maureen and to Bill and Terry as well as the entire family. We will miss your great personality and friendship.
Mike & Anita Moore
Cathedral City, Ca.
November 7, 2018
Russ was really a great friend, colleague and brother. We first met at the Naval Hospital San Diego in 1972. Over the years, we have always stayed in contact with each other either by personal visits or by phone. I really enjoyed getting those 6:00am phone calls. We helped each other out whenever we could and he always had the latest information on alternative health care and dentistry.
Dear Maureen and Family, I will really miss Russ. It's hard for me personally to even realize he is not with us anymore. But, I know he is in a better place -- no more pain. He is in Heaven now. May the Lord bless and comfort you and your family during this time of grief.
Floyd and Dianne Sekiya
November 7, 2018
Russell was the greatest guy in the world. I felt he was like a brother. We shared many good times. I will miss him. I loved him. I am so saddened.
I will pray for comfort to the family during third difficult time.
Mary Marston (Bright+)
November 6, 2018
I remember Russell from grade school at St. Thomas Aquinas. He was a nice fellow in school and was always funny and joking with all his classmates. Sorry to hear of his passing. Looks like he had a wonderful life with his wife and family. I remember him well.
November 6, 2018
Russ was a very kind and gentle soul,....always there when you needed him, always willing to share knowledge to better someone's life,...he shared his enthusiasm for life and for his work with everyone he encountered,...you never felt hurried in Russ's presence,... he made you feel as if you were the most important person in his life while you were with him. He was full of knowledge and encouragement and relentless in his willingness to share this with whomever he came in contact with on his daily morning walks. This enthusiasm was not just for strangers that he met but mostly for his family. I recall many mornings, early, we would receive a phone call from Russ,.. realizing that his time in California was 3 hrs earlier than ours. Russ would call so excited about his newest discovery about.....mouth and dental care, or self improvement, or health of body and soul, or even stock investments (private joke among family), but no matter what he was sharing, his enthusiasm overflowed through the phone lines and we couldn't help but catch his excitement for whatever he was trying to share with us. This enthusiasm for life carried over in his thoughtful care for those souls forgotten by many, who never even noticed these people,... but to Russ they were his people,... the ones we speak of were the homeless people camped out along the beaches of CA. Russ's normal routine was to visit them,...giving them words of encouragement,... bringing them donuts and bananas, or coffee or sharing a few dollars ,...he told us once when he would ask them "which would you like, a banana or a donut?", most would say the banana,...and Russ's comment was, these guys are smart fellas,... they've just had some bad breaks in life. Russ saw the glass half full, not half empty, as some of us do! We must learn from Russ's example and carry on his enthusiasm.... for life, for knowledge, for giving back, for faith and for family. We miss and love you, Russ, your sis, Lorie and hubby Mark
Ferol & Gregory Henkels
November 5, 2018
Dear Maureen & the entire Tontz Clan: Our hearts go out to you at the loss of your husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. Russ was an exemplary man with a heart of gold. He truly was a disciple of God, lending a hand to many asking for nothing in return.
We will miss Russ stopping by our house on the way to Ocean Beach frequently to talk about what was on his mind or to share a book or words of wisdom. A proud dad he was, he always kept us in the know about his children; what they were doing in school, where they were living, and their professional lives. He never left without making us laugh! Russ will be missed by each of us.
May you rest in peace, Russ, at the right hand of Father.
Gregory & Ferol Henkels
November 3, 2018
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation https://prayersfrommaria.org
Benjamin Russell Walker
November 3, 2018
While I live on the east coast, I didn’t get to see Uncle Russ as much as I’d like, but enjoyed every minute of the times that we spent together. I would occasionally get calls from him early in the morning (even early for eastern standard time) to catch up. I charish those conversations and the times we spent together. No matter what we talked about or did, it was guaranteed to end with a smile. Even beyond his days on earth, Uncle Russ’s love of God, family, friends (both new and old), and life will continue to inspire me and all that knew him. He was a treasure to us all and will be deeply missed.
November 2, 2018
Russ will be missed by so many starting with his dear family - Maureen, their children and grandchildren, his brother and sisters and their spouses, his nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews, and his patients.
He will also be missed by his many friends. With tears in my eyes I recall our years together at Baltimore’s Loyola College, our 1963 undefeated and conference champion tennis team, his tennis successes after college (along with “Brother Bill), and so much more . Russ was one of the most loving men I’ve ever known. May he Rest In Peace!
Dr. Lou Albert and Anne Albert