Music touches the soul of Tanya Chen

Tanya Chen was born and raised in Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in home economics education, then did dietetic internship at the V.A. Hospital in Houston. She received a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas in 1974.

Tanya married Sutton (Bob) Chen, who is a physician, and moved to California in 1975. She held jobs in dietetics and nutrition until their son, Cameron, was born. They moved to La Jolla in 1985 when their daughter, Chelsea, was 2 years old. She has been a homemaker as well as a volunteer in the schools and at church for 30 years.

She has served as elder and deacon at La Jolla Presbyterian Church and has been president of the San Diego Chinese Women’s Association. Since May 2005, she has been employed as the concert series manager at La Jolla Presbyterian Church. Tanya serves on the Spreckels Organ Society board of trustees, where she chairs the nominating committee.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My husband graduated from La Jolla High School and did his undergraduate work at UCSD, so he was familiar with the area and wanted to move back here.

What makes La Jolla special to you?

It’s one of the most beautiful year-round resort towns in the world, and yet so conveniently located to downtown San Diego and everything else. It has great schools for our children, La Jolla Presbyterian Church and the friends that I have made here.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would have all the utilities placed underground, and a more pedestrian-friendly Torrey Pines Road from Prospect to La Jolla Shores Drive would be nice.

Who or what inspires you?

Music touches my soul, and God inspires me.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would like to sit down at the table with my husband, Bob, my son, Cameron, and his wife, Jessica, and my daughter, Chelsea, along with J. S. Bach, Dale Carnegie and Jesus Christ.

What are you currently reading?

The Bible.

What is your most prized possession?

Nothing that I own is as important to me as my health. I strive to maintain it by working out at the La Jolla YMCA or walking five or six days a week.

What do you do for fun?

I volunteer. I enjoy helping others. One of best things that I do is being on the board of the Spreckels Organ Society. Since I enjoy music, I have fun being involved in preserving, promoting and programming the Spreckels Organ for the enjoyment of all San Diegans. Our organ concerts, held at 2 p.m. Sundays, and the Summer Organ Festival, which starts June 22, bring great music without charge to everyone.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

I spent 30 years of my life as a stay-at-home mom, so the success of my children - Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Chen, now deployed on the U.S.S. Eisenhower, and Chelsea Chen, concert organist who is receiving a graduate degree this month from Yale - give me the greatest sense of accomplishment. They both love God and their fellowman.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Treat others as you would like to be treated.