OBITUARY: Takenaga

Jeanne Smith Takenaga

Jeanne Smith Takenaga, former probate register for the Wayne County Probate Court, died Feb. 7, at age 55.

Takenaga served as probate register for the Wayne County Probate Court beginning in 1990 until her retirement in early 2011. In 2002, Takenaga was appointed director of Personnel and Labor Relations for the Court. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University and the Detroit College of Law, Takenaga was a specialist in probate, juvenile law, and court administration. Before her 1990 appointment as probate register, Takenaga was probate manager for the Michigan State Court Administrative Office. She also served as court attorney for the Wayne County Probate Court from 1985 until 1988. Takenaga is a past president of the Michigan Probate and Juvenile Registers Association and was named Michigan's 1997 Public Servant of the Year.

The fourth youngest in a family of 11, Takenaga was born on Sept. 25, 1956, and grew up in Garden City, the daughter of the late Hugh and Catherine Smith. She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor of science degree and then taught in Scotland while attending the University of Edinburgh.

Always goal-oriented, she set her sights on a law degree and graduated with honors from the Detroit College of Law in 1985. For 20 years, she was Wayne County Probate Court's probate register, running the court with strong leadership, grace and warmth.

Married to Gary for 31 years, she was a devoted wife and loving mother of Lara, 22, and Brent, 21.

Takenaga is also survived by her sisters Barbara Nagrant and Margaret Smith and brothers Larry Smith, Tim Smith, Ken Smith, Bob Smith, and Ed Smith.

Her family will receive mourners at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward (between 13-14 Mile), today from 2 to 9 p.m. with eulogy service at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers family suggests memorials to Caring for Carcinoid Foundation.

Published: Wed, Feb 15, 2012