In Loving Memory of Gay Tokumaru Bessen

Published March 19, 2018

The Academy is deeply saddened to report the passing of Academy Fellow Dr. Gay Tokumaru Bessen of Virginia on March 9, 2018 at the age of 55, after a brief battle with cancer.

Dr. Tokumaru became a Fellow of the Academy in 1992 and served as a volunteer on the Academy's Admittance, Lectures and Workshops (Chair from 2013 to 2014), and Communications Committees. She was also President of the Academy's Virginia Chapter.

She was the Chief of Optometry at the Hampton VA Medical Center in Virginia. From 2005 to 2009, Dr. Tokumaru served as President, National Association of VA Optometrists (NAVAO) and subsequently as Immediate Past President. She also served on the ACOE Residency Committee, was an Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) Consultant and served as Chair for many ACOE site visits that improved the quality of VA Optometric Residency Programs.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent in her memory to Nelson County Almost Home Pet Adoption Center, 29 Stagebridge Road, Lovington, Virginia 22949-2446. Her memorial service will be held at Nelsen Funeral Home on 3785 Strawberry Plains Road in Williamsburg, Virginia at 1:30 on Saturday, March 24th. Following the service, guests are invited to join in a toast to Gay at Craft 31 at 3701 Strawberry Plains Road. Online condolences may be offered at