March 15, 1944 – June 10, 2021

TOMINE, CHRIS SHINYA passed away on June 10, 2021. Chris was born March 15th, 1944 at the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Northern California. He grew up in Alameda, California, attending elementary and high school there, with fond memories of playing at McKinley Park, across the street from the Tomine house, with his brother, Eugene and sisters, Naomi and Amy. Chris was an exceptional student, skipping several grades and starting at the University of California, Berkeley, when he was just 16-years old.
He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Physics, and later, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University.

Professionally, he spent his entire career at California State University, Sacramento, starting in 1970 as a Professor of Engineering, then becoming Civil Engineering Department Chair, Interim Chair of Asian American Studies, and Associate Vice President of the university. He retired in 2008.

More than just the math nerd he often claimed to be, Chris also excelled in the arts. He was a skilled musician who played guitar and sang for family, friends and with a band at gigs around Northern California. He also designed posters, cards, banners and t-shirts for many different organizations and events, including the Buddhist Temple of Alameda’s bazaar and Obon festival, the San Francisco Japantown Mall and the Bainbridge Island Blueberry Company.

Chris was also known far and wide for his chef skills in the kitchen, and an ability to fix almost anything mechanical. He brought his engineering side and artistic side together with a collection of handmade furniture using intricate Japanese joinery techniques.

Through it all, a personal imperative to “do it right or don’t do it at all” ensured that everything he worked on—from elaborate dinners to furniture to home improvements and repairs—turned out spectacularly. His grandchildren remember him for his “brownberry” chocolate-chip pancakes, banana splits and the songs he played and sang for them.

When he wasn’t creating or fixing something, Chris enjoyed golf with his buddies, holiday celebrations with family, cooking and traveling with his wife Jane, a sip of Pappy Van Winkle, the Three Stooges and anything else that sparked his offbeat sense of humor.

He is survived by his wife, Jane Naito; sons Dylan Tomine and Adrian (Sarah Brennan) Tomine; grandchildren Skyla, Weston, Nora and May; step-children Paul Sonona and Angela (Jack Knutson) Sonoda; brother Eugene (Sharron Sue) Tomine and sisters Naomi

(Walt) Ellis and Amy Tomine. A private family service will be held at the Buddhist Temple of Alameda later this summer.

Chris was a family man, art man, music man, math man but most of all, he was a good man. We will miss him dearly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *