Cover photo for Kanako Taniguchi Sheffer's Obituary
Kanako Taniguchi Sheffer Profile Photo
1967 Kanako 2022

Kanako Taniguchi Sheffer

October 3, 1967 — February 15, 2022

Kanako Sheffer of Madison, Alabama, passed away on February 15, 2022; she was 54.

Kanako was born in Miyakonojo, Japan on the Island of Kyushu to Isao and Hiroko Taniguchi on 3 October, 1967. Travel, education and helping women were always important to Kanako. Soon after graduating from college in Japan where she was a varsity volleyball player, she went to Bangladesh to assist single mothers in getting loans to establish Cottage Industries and become financially independent. In 2002 she moved to the United States to continue her studies and graduated from Coe College and then went on to complete her Masters of Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004.


Kanako’s happiest moments were with her family and she was always finding a new adventure for them to go on. Kanako was also avid about supporting her community through volunteering but her true passion was in animal rescue.  Through her extensive efforts at A New Leash on Life, Kanako has helped saved hundreds of cats and dogs throughout the United States and many of them still live at her house today since she never met a cat she didn’t want to keep.


Kanako is survived by her husband Gary and son Will of Madison, Alabama, stepdaughter Tory Saxon of Norfork, VA, stepson Bryan of Huntsville, AL.  Her parents Isao and Hiroko of Miyakonjo Japan, and her brother Shoichiro of Fukoka, Japan.


In lieu of flowers, please donate to an animal rescue shelter near you.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kanako Taniguchi Sheffer, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, February 18, 2022

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Legacy Chapel Funeral Home and Crematory

16 Hughes Rd, Madison, AL 35758

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