Tatia Malika Oden French, Ph.D., died in childbirth Dec. 28. She was married to Joseph Blaine French, teacher at Berkeley High School, the daughter of Madeline Oden, longtime city employee, and Stan Oden, a Sacramento State University instructor.
Mrs. French attended Berkeley High School and graduated in 1987. She then enrolled at UC Santa Cruz. Tatia’s passion for justice, her compassion and empathy for others and her belief in the ability of an individual to make a difference led her to study psychology. She graduated in 1991 with honors in that field, then went on to pursue her doctorate degree in psychology at Berkeley’s Wright Institute. She earned her degree in 2000 and devoted much of her professional life to the study of the devastating effects of physical battery on African-American women. Her dissertation, “Insult Denied: Traumatic Brain Injury in Battered African-American Women” was awarded the prestigious Richard Alan Smith Scholar’s Award from the Wright Institute. While working on her dissertation, Mrs. French soon realized that the healing of the human mind was related to the healing of the human body and so decided to prepare for medical school.
Over the last year and a half she completed her pre-requisites for medical school while helping administer Emerson School’s Healthy Start program, maintaining a private practice, and working for Kaiser Permanente dispensing psychological advice to physicians and subscribers.
Through her friends, Mrs. French met her husband to be, in whom she discovered a kindred spirit. They shared joy, laughter and friendship, and enjoyed camping and traveling together.
On Aug. 19, 2000, the two married in a ceremony which they created, honoring their values of spirituality, family and love.
Mrs. French was a devoted and loving daughter, sister, granddaughter and aunt, who took a great deal of pride in both of her brothers’ accomplishments.
She sought the counsel of her parents in all areas. She and her father, Stan, celebrated the completion of their doctorates in the same year. Through him, Mrs. French gained the love of history and knowledge. Maddie supported her daughter in every area of her life, encouraging her travel and assisting her though all life’s transitions.
In May of this year Mrs. French announced that she was pregnant. The couple named their daughter Zorah Allie Mae French. The child also died Dec. 28.
In addition to her husband and parents, Mrs. French leaves behind her husband’s parents, David and Carolyn French, her grandparents George and Phyllis Mintzer and Clyde Oden , Sr., brothers and sisters, Marcus and Natasha Oden, Kofi and Jamilah Rashid, Lynn C. French, MaryAnn French, David French, Jr., Howard and Agnes French, James French, DeeDee and Bernie Boone, Buffa and Guy Harkless and Tania Jackson.
Mrs. French celebrated her family. She celebrated friendship. She celebrated herself. She celebrated life itself.
Services were held Thursday at Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church. This obituary was based on the obituary disseminated at the service.