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Tanyna Belle Saxton was born Tanyna Belle Rachel Chichester on March 25, 1947 at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, DC to her loving parents, Belle and Arthur Chichester. They, along with oldest son Howard, and eventually younger sister Judy, lived in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington, but soon the family moved a few blocks away to 20th Street Northeast, and younger brother Robert (Bobby) was born to make the family unit complete. The house on 20th Street was always full of family, but Tanyna also spent time with her many, many cousins on H Street Northeast which was the Chichester family hub.
Tanyna went from Slowe Elementary School to Taft Junior High School, and then to McKinley High School. She went on to study at DC Teachers’ College, majoring in Communication, and then earned a Master’s degree from Howard University in Educational Technology. While at DC Teachers’ she joined the Beta Lambda chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
She began her work in DC Public Schools and, 38 years later, retired from DCPS as a speech pathologist, working all over the city at schools on all levels: elementary, junior high, and high schools. Early in her career, she met a young classroom aide who had been in the Navy, and was aspiring to attend art school. Larry Saxton, that aide, finally got her to agree to go on a date with him, and the rest was history. That date began a love story that would span close to five decades. From the 1981 marriage of Larry and Tanyna came a daughter Monica, and, two years later, a daughter Loren. Tanyna loved her family fiercely and loved to champion them in all of their endeavors. Her support, enthusiasm, and loyalty extended to her siblings, her nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, and, most recently, her grandson, Malachi.
Tanyna grew up as a member of Shiloh Baptist Church, joining the church officially and being baptized under the pastorship of Rev. Earl L Harrison. Her real love was singing in the choirs there. She and her sister Judy sang in the Youth Ensemble, then the Mary Ellen Lofton Volunteer Chorus, and they were the youngest members of that group. Tanyna, Judy, and their mother Belle were also all founding members of the Shiloh Gospel choir. She and Judy also sang excerpts from Handel’s Messiah with the Senior Choir under former director Charles “Papa Charles” Fleming for many years. She served at Shiloh as a deaconess for several years, was a life member of ASALH, and worked as a dedicated member of Faith-Friendly Circle, hosting meetings and meals over the years.
Tanyna was an avid reader, NBA basketball fan, and baker. More than anything, she loved to laugh. She was a woman of deep faith, trusting God to guide and protect her and her loved ones, and was one of the family’s fiercest prayer warriors.
She leaves behind her loving husband, Larry Saxton, daughters Monica Saxton and Loren Saxton Coleman (Marcus), and grandson Malachi Coleman; brother Howard Chichester, sister Judy Williams (Stanley), and brother Robert Chichester (Carol); nieces and nephews: Mark Chichester (Colette), Naya Gilmore (John), Lanita Williams, Malik Williams (Yerlina), Jeremy Chichester, and Taryn Montano (Eduardo); great-nephews and great-nieces: Jamar Chichester, Mark A. Chichester, Megan Chichester, Jasmyn Gilmore, Sydni Gilmore, Alyssa Gilmore, Amir Williams, Robert Montano, Giovanni Montano, and Sophia Chichester; and a host of cousins, in-law relations, and beloved friends.