Former Nye County Commissioner Jeff Taguchi died Tuesday night at his home in Irvine, Calif. He was 52.
Taguchi was appointed to fill the county commission seat left vacant when Bill Copeland died in 1996 during his term in office. A Beatty resident, Taguchi was reelected to one term from 1998 to 2002 but lost his seat due to redistricting following the 2000 census. Taguchi was the last Beatty resident to serve on the county commission. Former commissioner Joni Eastley absorbed his district in 2002. The town is now part of Commissioner Lorinda Wichman’s vast northern district.
Taguchi was the pastor of Beatty Community Church from 1991 until 2005. He also traveled the world from Ghana to China as national director of Commit Ministries. During his time in Beatty, Taguchi also had a landscaping business and dealt in real estate development.
When real estate developer Hans Seibt built his Desert Retreat RV Park from the old Calvada Sports Complex in February 2004, Taguchi was his public relations consultant. A street in the RV park still bears Taguchi’s name.
When the U.S. Department of Energy was proposing a rail route to Yucca Mountain in 2006, Taguchi pushed for the extension of a rail route north to an existing railroad line in Mina in Mineral County, instead of a much more expensive rail line from Caliente.
Taguchi was pastor of Oasis Church in Taiwan from 2007 to 2012.
The Taguchis moved back to the U.S. in July 2012 where he was pastor of New Life Christian Center, a Chinese non-denominational church in Irvine.
Heather Taguchi said he fell face down at their home; it is believed he died of a massive stroke. He had heart issues over the years, she said.
Taguchi’s mother was in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.
Eastley said she came on the Board of County Commissioners in January 2001 when Taguchi was a commissioner.
“He played such a strong role in helping me to develop the skills of an elected official. His honesty and integrity were beyond reproach,” Eastley said.
Former county commissioner Cameron McRae also served with Taguchi.
“I am shocked to hear the news. He was a great commissioner for the Beatty-Amargosa area. I enjoyed working with him,” McRae said.
Former county commissioner Henry Neth said he will always remember serving with Taguchi.
“My experience with him, he cared more about Nye County than any commissioner I ever worked with,” said Neth. “Jeff and I traveled to Washington together. He was so much fun and one of the smartest guys I ever met.”
Ellice Dunsterville, a member of Taguchi’s parish in Beatty, said she knew him like a brother.
“He touched so many lives in Beatty and Pahrump and the whole county for that matter,” she said.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at New Life Christian Center, 1891 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, Calif. A short graveside service is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel, 27501 South Western Ave., Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.