Feb. 17, 1937 - Jan. 23, 2020
Granite Bay, CA
Dale Wayne Junta died at home in Granite Bay, Calif. on Jan. 23, 2020 from complications of chronic leukemia, a disease he bravely battled for more than 20 years. He was 82.
Born in 1937 to Claude and Frances Junta, he was raised in San Leandro, Calif. A chance encounter at age 11 with a tennis instructor at a local park changed his life. Tennis became Dale's passion and he quickly rose to the top of both California and national boys' tennis rankings. After graduating from Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Penn., he attended Harvard College on a Navy ROTC scholarship where he captained the Harvard men's tennis team for three years. His success on the team earned him the coveted Bingham Award, an honor given to one outstanding male athlete each year and, in 1982, induction into the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame.
After graduating in 1958, Dale competed in both the Wimbledon and US Open Tennis Championships. To fulfill his Navy scholarship, he spent the next three years serving as a LTJG on the USS Enterprise and USS Hornet aircraft carriers. He then earned a law degree from UC Hastings School of Law in San Francisco and went on to practice law in the San Francisco Bay Area. He later left the law and went into the residential and commercial mortgage business.
Off the tennis court, Dale loved to golf, cook and garden. He was especially passionate about the many varieties of tomatoes that he cultivated each year. He had a curious mind that made him an avid student of history and politics. He was a proud Democrat. He delighted in playing the piano and singing. With his booming tenor voice, he was a member of the Harvard Glee club and the Blackhawk Chorus in Danville, Calif. Dale was also fond of telling bad jokes, performing amateur magic and jumping in the pool fully clothed over the heads of his grandchildren.
He and his wife Susan retired in Granite Bay after living in Danville for 27 years. They were married for 31 years and loved to travel abroad and in California.
In addition to his wife Susan, Dale is survived by his brother Lee Junta (Lincoln, Calif.), his children Ben Junta (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Kendal McTeigue (Great Barrington, Mass.), David Junta (Denver, Colo.), and stepchildren Stett Holbrook (Sebastopol, Calif.) and Kate Garrison (Campbell, Calif.). He also leaves behind nine beloved grandchildren.
Published by Mercury News on Feb. 2, 2020.