Remembering Dr. Bill Takeshita
The world of Pediatric Low Vision lost a pioneer, advocate, mentor, teacher and beloved friend and colleague, Dr. Bill Takeshita on Friday March 3, 2023. Dr. Bill's commitment and passion for helping children and teens with low vision is unparalleled. Families and professionals sought Dr. Bill's expertise and wisdom that he shared along with his compassion and message of hope, inspiring us all to help children learn to use their remaining sight and learn to adapt to permanent vision loss. He was a hero to all of us and his legacy lives on with every life he touched so profoundly.
Write your tribute to Dr. Bill below and we will publish it on this page.
"Dr. Bill thank you for welcoming me back to Southern CA after I'd been away for so many years. I will never forget how you lifted me up, and saw what I could give to my community. You were my champion and cheerleader. I felt so lucky to sit beside you whether it was a training at CPS, BTFVN, TLC, NFB, CTEBVI, CSULA, IDA, and the list goes on, you were always gracious, kind and giving of all the knowledge you held inside. Thank you for sharing your incredible gift, and thank you to your family for sharing you. Much love and healing to all as there are so many who will feel this loss, but we are all truly better for having you in our life."
"Que triste lo conocí cuando Kenya estaba chiquita Siempre lo vi como un ejemplo de superación para Kenya."
"So sorry to hear Dr. Bill has passed. My condolences to his family. We never met, but listening to some of his talks when we first found out our son Erik is blind was really helpful...made me realize the world is so much bigger and full of potential than what my ocularcentric views were at the time. RIP Dr. Bill."
"Dr. Bill's warm smile and gentle manner put my little girl at ease during our visits. We flew from Connecticut to Los Angeles to be evaluated by his team because no one else understood my child or could relate to her quite like Dr. Bill and the team. I will miss him. He was a gift."
"When I met Dr. Bill he brought hope to our family. At 6 months old we were referred to Dr. Bill and his office because Zoe was unable to see and other doctors didn’t know why. She couldn’t see black and white objects. Dr. Bill told us “show her objects that are red” when we did, we saw Zoe improve and track. Dr. Bill told us about the diagnosis of CVI and the intervention we could do to help Zoe’s vision and what a difference it made. Dr. Bill made an impact on not only my family, but other children with visual impairments. I remember walking into the exam for the first time hearing Dr. Bill’s computer talk and wondering, is he blind? How could that be? A doctor that is blind with a talking computer? I learned Dr. Bill lost his vision and that his computer was programmed to tell him what is on the screen without using his vision. Being blind didn’t stop him from being a doctor or from helping others. Now my daughter, Zoe, at 9 years old uses a computer that talks just like Dr. Bill’s. I am heartbroken to learn the world lost such an amazing person who helped so many. He always had a smile on his face and made us feel seen. I would like to thank Dr. Bill for helping my daughter throughout the years. A million thanks for all the support. We are honored to have met him."
"Dr. Bill Takeshita was the former chief of low vision optometry at the center for the partially sighted. He devoted his time to the blind community. In his 17-year career as a low vision optometrist, he helped so many of us who are blind and visually impaired. He had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives. Dr. Bill was also the consulting director for low vision at Braille Institute, and a board member of the Hearts for Sight Foundation. He lectured on a lot of podcasts ( AIRSLA, let’s talk low vision, Braille institute educational series). He established and founded the Dr. Bill Takeshita Foundation. Dr. Bill was more than an optometrist. He was the person who sought me out to work at the Center For The Partially Sighted. He hired me right on the spot. He was one of my bosses during that time. I, being visually impaired myself, was fortunate to have taught assistive technology to clients who were also blind or visually impaired. Those times at the Center For The Partially Sighted were very special to me. It gave me a chance to do what I have a passion for. If it wasn’t for Dr. Bill, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity. For that, I’m very grateful. I kept in touch with Dr . Bill even after CPS closed. He was always willing to lend an ear and offer sound advice. He was always so proud of my accomplishments. I am just so saddened by this news, really unfortunate. I still cannot believe this; it’s so shocking. I know it will happen to all of us at some point but it doesn’t make it any easier. Thank you Dr. Bill for everything you did for me and others. Without you, I would not have gotten where I am. You were a great friend, mentor, and superior. May you rest in peace Dr . Takeshita. You will be missed."
- Marissa Solaun
"Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is with our deepest sympathy that we want to inform our patients, referring doctors, and friends about the recent passing of our beloved Dr. Bill Takeshita.
'Dr. Bill' was truly a force of nature. His never-ending positive, upbeat, energetic presence was a welcoming addition to any day in our office. Funny, witty, and very direct, he challenged us to be our best always. He was quick with a joke and sincere in his loyalty and friendship. As a trailblazer in the world of Pediatric and Developmental Optometry, he showed no fear in taking on the most difficult patients in an attempt to give others a better quality of life. He became a doctor to the most and least privileged in our city all at the same time, treating each one like a special jewel. Most of us, even as eyecare professionals, owe a debt to him for helping us with our own children during those difficult early school years when reading and learning skills are so
critical for educational and emotional success.
It is sheer irony that a man so dedicated to bringing vision to those who struggled to find theirs would succumb to losing his own vision in the prime of his life. Not once did any one of us hear him say, “Why me” or “This is so unfair”. He never let his own visual disability stop him. Finding new ways to continue his passion for helping others, he hired doctors to manually perform
examinations and he then interpreted the verbal results to advise parents and educators to develop treatment paradigms for those who sought out his help. He traveled, lectured, and published essential information for others to follow his protocols while describing the world of living in a “smoky cloud of haze”. We watched him lovingly study the pictures of his family as his vision receded, committing each and every one of them to memory for his own personal
'Dr. Bill' will always be a part of the legacy of our practice. We will think of him often as we walk the hallways that we shared, and as time went on, that we literally bumped into him as his vision declined. His memory will serve as an inspiration for all things that are positive and good, funny and sometimes even unconventional, pushing us to continue in our work to help others attain their best vision and health. May his broad beaming smile, white shirt and tie, and perfectly dark slicked-back hair be a poster for consistency, passion for helping others, and an enduring commitment to excellence. We will never forget him. May his memory be a blessing."
- Drs. Nguyen, Silver, Taketa, Kastenbaum, and our staff
Nguyen Family Vision Care Optometry Corporation
"Dr. Bill, 31 years ago my parents came to you without any English and without any knowledge of what my vision difficulties would be. You diagnosed me with Achromatopsia and tirelessly helped my family navigate through the journey. You gave me the skills and the faith that I would be successful in life. Because you believed in me, I made it! I graduated top of my class in my masters program and became an individual that helps thousands of families. I will always appreciate you for always believing in me and seeing me as an individual not as a disability!!!! With ultimate love and appreciation."
"I only met Dr. Bill once, but he was absolutely amazing. All the doctors had been telling me that my son was completely blind. Even though he responded to changes in light, despite tracking simple objects more than 50% of the time, despite feedback from therapists that he could see something. All the doctors told me I was “in denial” about my son’s condition, and none spent more than 5 minutes with him. My son is severely disabled and medically fragile, SQCP, non-verbal. When I met Dr. Bill at Children's Retina Institute, the whole team was so welcoming and actually listened to what we were experiencing. Dr. Bill, within the first 5 minutes, declared that my son was NOT fully blind, but had CVI instead. He told us there was some sight there. They spent the next 90 minutes assessing my son and educating us on what we could do to help my son see better (with less confusion), and explained so many interesting things about CVI. If it weren’t for Dr. Bill, my son would still be considered “fully blind” and not receive any type of service to help him, living in a world without glasses, essentially being blind. Thank you."
"Dr. Bill was a good friend and colleague. I was fortunate to work with him for five years. I found him to be not only an intelligent eye doctor, but also, he understood the social and psychological aspects of vision loss. He was so kind to provide in-depth trainings for the families at Braille Institute. He would open up for questions and really took time to answer questions parents had and provided them hope and guidance in navigating this world of vision loss. I will miss him greatly! May God watch over and comfort his families, colleagues and friends."
"I was fortunate to be one of Dr. Bill’s patients, beginning at five years old and continuing throughout my adolescence and adulthood. I have known him before and after he lost his vision. He was an incredible doctor and the only one who could correctly diagnose an individual’s visual impairment. He was very kind, humble, generous and charismatic. He gave me endless possibilities with technology and hope for the future. Because of him I am now a college graduate. I always looked forward to my appointments with Dr. Bill. We would have a chat about what was going on in our lives. I told him i was involved in an opera. He asked if I could sing for him, and I happily belted out “Dreamed a Dream” in the office! I asked him who he favored as a singer, he responded with Mariah Carey. I am forever grateful to Dr. Bill. I would walk into his office feeling sad and not knowing what to do, but then would leave feeling uplifted and hopeful. He not only treated my eyes but my soul. My heart is heavy for the loss of Dr. Bill, but filled with gratitude as well. I will miss him terribly. He was, and always will be, a beacon of hope and light."
"I participated in Dr. Takeshita's telephone education series and always found them extremely helpful. The information I learned helped me be a better advocate for infants and toddlers. Dr. Bill presented difficult topics with heart and always made it clear that he was there to help this special needs community. His extensive expertise in the field will be missed."
"Though my son died 21 years ago from cancer related to his rare genetic syndrome (Costello syndrome), I can still remember Dr. Bill coming to the Yellow House program that PUSD ran, where he saw my son. I also benefitted from workshops hosted by various community-based organizations supporting those with IDD that invited him to present. Dr. Bill is one of the myriad lists of providers of care for my son whom I remember. He radiated love for all the children he saw, and I, as my medically fragile, mysteriously visually delayed son's parent, was warmed by it too. Rest in peace."
"Dr. Bill you gave Nathaniel, my son's sight a new meaning!! He was able to see the world because of your amazing work, you will truly be missed."
"In the 34 years since my son's birth, through what seems like thousands of appointments with hundreds of doctors and specialists, Dr. Bill stands out. I have referred countless families to him over the years- I wanted as many folks as possible to experience his energy, joy, and brilliance. Most important for me was that he believed in the gift and potential of every child. May you rest in peace and may your beautiful family be comforted at this time."
"Dr. Bill, thank you for all you’ve done for our community for your service, support and advocacy. You will be missed!!!"
"Asistiré (su celebración de vida) para mostrarle a mi hijo de baja visión que si se puede hacer alguien en la vida como el. Dr Bill descanse en pas."
"Thank you for the help you have given me, since I have been your patient when I was younger. You helped me get so many services."
"We lost a great wealth of knowledge when Dr. Bill Takeshita stepped into eternity. I was able to run my idea of creating glasses so I can better help others understand how my son, Clarence, sees. It was a great tool for his teaches to visualize his difficulties learning and we were able to work together to get him where he is today. Dr Takeshita was a big part of getting that dialogue going. He will be greatly missed."
"You opened our eyes and had the courage to speak out for those who could not against those who should not. I will forever be grateful for you."
"Throughout his life, Dr. Bill was a champion for people facing vision impairment. He was dedicated to learning about the latest technology and sharing this knowledge with others who would benefit. He took every opportunity to educate professionals and family members about the challenges and potential of people living with low vision and blindness. He was instrumental in establishing the Pediatric Low Vision Program at The Center for the Partially Sighted. He inspired many through his knowledge and lived experience with vision loss. His contributions as an educator, innovator, and clinician have improved the lives of countless children and families. This was his life’s passion, eclipsed only by his love of his family."
" Dearest Dr. Bill, I met you more than 30 years ago, and I was one of the first people that you trained in the field of children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities. You were such a great teacher. Those Monday afternoons were full of learning, hands-on training, and fun. Yes, it was fun to be around you! You would see 3 to 4 children on my caseload at least twice a month. There was so much learning, not only for me but for each family. The families were very impressed with your knowledge, expertise, and hope for their children but most of all, with your compassion. You really knew how to talk to each family. You changed so many lives, including mine. You made me the professional that I am today, and you had so much faith in me. You were so sweet with me and called me “mi novia” (my girlfriend). At first, I was shy because of my “nickname”, but after a while, I got used to it. Thank you for this memory. When you had your private practice, you gave contact lenses to my 3 children, and you always encouraged them to go to college. Thank you for your friendship. Your wife and I were pregnant at the same time, so there were many personal conversations about our due dates and other baby stuff. I know that you were devastated when you lost your vision, and we all were too. However, after a couple months, you came back to the field stronger than ever. Dr. Bill, you left us to soon, but you left us your legacy and set an example for us of how to be a professional. Even if you are not here, when I am with a child with a visual impairment, I think about you and know that I am passing on all the knowledge that you gave me. May God receive you in his arms and God help with our loss."
"Dr. Bill was AMAZING and so helpful during Tyler's diagnosis. He was such a kind man with such a giving heart. I will never forget meeting Dr. Bill for the first time and at the end of that appointment, Dr. Bill sent Tyler home with a system that he could use to help him see large print. It was a very expensive piece of equipment and I could not afford to purchase one myself, and he just gave it to Tyler. He ALWAYS made himself available to Tyler whenever Tyler needed to see him. He made it happen, and I appreciated the care and concern he gave my son, who at the time was 6 years old. Even when he got older, Dr. Bill was a great support. My heart is full, and I am so grateful we had the opportunity to know him. We will forever be grateful for ALL that he did for my Tyler."
-Bridgett Sullivan and Tyler Stoudemire
"It is with great sadness and immense gratitude that I am writing about Dr. Bill. He changed the lives of all who knew him. I met him over 30 years ago when Tori brought him to the Infant-Family Program to train us. I had the privilege of accompanying families to visits for eye exams with him at The Center for the Partially Sighted and later worked with him as a staff member of Partners for Pediatric Vision. He had insights that were unknown to others and shared them generously. He approached the families and children with the perspective of possibilities, incredible caring and tremendous support. What an honor to have the opportunity to know, learn and work with him. In addition to working with Dr. Bill, my son became a patient of his over thirty years ago, so I knew him as a parent as well and Dr. Bill changed his life and mine. His vision was correctly diagnosed for the first time and he received life-changing support and treatment that enabled him to use his vision. I feel so fortunate to have known Dr. Bill and will be forever grateful for his support, caring, humor and generosity. Thank you Dr. Bill."
"Dr. Bill, You touched the lives of so many people in ways many could not. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to meet you and hear you speak. You have taught me so much and I will continue to remember you as such a generous, beautiful gentle soul. You were such an incredibly passionate pioneer, advocate, and contributor to pediatric low vision. Your patients and colleagues were truly blessed to have you as part of their lives. I am confident your legacy will live on through all those you have touched throughout your personal and professional life."
"Sentimos mucho la pérdida de una gran persona. Siempre tan amable, sin duda alguna nos dejas triste pero profundamente agradecidas, gracias por haber sido parte de nuestra vida., gracias por tu tiempo , gracias por tus consejos y apoyo. Gracias muchas gracias gracias ojalá y fuera sólo un sueño. Gracias siempre en nuestro corazón un abrazo muy fuerte a su hermosa familia."
"I remember when we were fortunate enough to learn about Dr. Bill at The Center for the Partially Sighted through Dr. Tawansy. I can recall like it was yesterday how kind-hearted, sensitive, and very gracious he was and showed much concern if Mack was getting the equipment he needed for school and everyday life. Mack and I were so happy that Dr. Bill knew so much about Mack's Syndrome and how it affects his vision. Dr. Bill was so thorough. I was in awe, especially due to the fact that Dr. Bill has no sight himself. No matter what, Dr. Bill was the very same at each and every appointment Mack ever had. Mack and I are deeply saddened but at peace, because we know Dr. Bill is a very special man and God will take care of him."
-Tiffany and Mackenzie Martinez
"Dr. Bill was an awesome mentor to me during my time as a Low Vision Consultant at Braille Institute 2012-2016, he believed in me. He was also gracious to write a recommendation for me to get into a college program working with visually impaired. Thank you for all you have done, Dr. Bill! Condolences to his family and all who love him."
-Jaime Lynn Viloria
"Dr. Bill was an amazing person and doctor. When I visited him in his office he put a smile on my face. It's so sad to hear that he passed. I'm sending hugs and prayers to his family."
"Dr. Bill was committed to his pediatric patients. From offering scholarships, to writing reports with educational recommendations, to hosting topics of interest to teachers and parents alike, he helped children, parents and teachers. He will be sorely missed."