Denise Takeshita, Age 59 of Minneapolis, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Monday, April 19. Denise is survived by her husband Erik, daughters Malia and Kiana, parents Ronald and Barbara Callies, six siblings (Dawn, Dale, Dave, Dan, Dean and Daryl), their spouses (Joel, Brenda, Susan, Denise, Andrea and Michelle), and 16-3/4 nieces and nephews (Dan, Shelby, Piper, Josh, Kristen, Matthew, Amanda, Adam, Ben, Tim, Nate, Samantha, Joey, Jacob, Kailee, Logan and a great-niece due in May), mother-in-law Jean Takeshita and many friends throughout the world.

Denise loved and cherished her girls more than anything in the world. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for them. When they were babies, Denise made their baby food from scratch. As they grew older, Denise would make elaborately decorated birthday cakes. Denise dedicated much of her life to taking the girls from here to there, wanting to provide them every opportunity possible. She loved them so very, very much and always just wanted the best for them.

Denise had a zest for life and was always willing to try new things, be it learning how to play the piano or learning Japanese. She was a renaissance woman with many interests. Denise studied macrobiotic cooking at the Kushi Institute, earned her certificate in Holistic Health and Healing from St. Kate’s, was a certified personal trainer, an aerobics instructor and a stint making and selling jewelry (dba DoBeadDo).

Denise was a self-declared “gym-rat” who worked out regularly at 5 and 6 am. She practiced yoga for the past 15 years; ran a marathon, several half-marathons and completed the Big Sur power walk. Denise had a competitive streak to her and you never wanted to challenge her to a wall-sit or plank competition.

With Denise, what you saw was what you got. She didn’t have any pretense. She was down-to-earth, authentic and genuine. She accepted and cherished people from all different backgrounds and experiences. She made friends easily and everywhere she went—the gym, the girl’s school, people from her various jobs, the doctor’s office or the grocery store.

Denise loved to laugh and had a great sense of humor (and at one point considered doing stand-up). She never took herself too seriously and loved telling jokes (even if she sometimes forgot the punchline) and teasing. She laughed freely and her joy was contagious.

Denise’s career was in finance. She passed the CPA Exam and worked for a variety of different companies over the years, helping organizations and making friends along the way. She liked to “solve problems” (e.g. figuring out how to make things balance) and that there was “an answer” (i.e. things tie out or they don’t).  

Denise was a wonderful wife and life-partner; she simply made Erik a better person. When they first met, Denise got Erik to run with her (quite a feat!) and over the years continued to encourage him to exercise more and eat healthier. She supported him in fulfilling his dreams of going to Harvard and living in Hawai’i. Denise was the foundation of Erik’s world, his rock; the water that kept the ship afloat.

Denise was always an inspiration. Even when diagnosed with stage-IV pancreatic cancer in October, she chose to be positive, courageously leaning into faith and dancing until the very end. She will be deeply missed and loved forever.

A celebration of Denise’s life will be held on May 8 at noon. Due to COVID-19, in-person attendance will be limited but all are welcome to attend virtually using the following link: us02web.zoom.us/j/…. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred at gofundme.com/f/…

Published on April 25, 2021