DeKALB – Tapa La Luna co-owner and DeKalb native Rob Deshazer died Tuesday from a heart attack, his business partner said.
Nancy Proesel, co-owner of Tapa La Luna, said Deshazer, 41, was watching television with his wife, Tiffany, and they both fell asleep. When his wife woke up, she found Deshazer was having a heart attack. She tried to administer CPR, as a 911 operator coached her through the process, until first-responders arrived and took over.
Deshazer, however, died between 4 and 5 a.m. at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, his wife said.
As a business partner, Proesel said, she got a call about the news Tuesday morning.
“It was a total surprise,” Proesel said. “I was with him at 11 o’clock last night, and he was saying goodnight to everybody. I had no idea.”
Proesel said the restaurant was closed all day Tuesday in memory of Deshazer.
Proesel said Deshazer was a wonderful person who loved to contribute to community charity efforts and was always great for a toast, a joke and was a fantastic listener. She said he could always sense if someone needed to talk and would sit and drink water with them if they shouldn’t have any more alcohol that night.
“He always put concerns for others way in front of his own,” Proesel said.
Proesel said she and Deshazer bought the restaurant about six years ago after the previous owner announced one day during dinner that he was closing the place in a week.
“And we turned to each other and decided to buy it to keep it in DeKalb,” Proesel said.
Tarryn Thaden, a DeKalb resident who was also the interior designer for the restaurant when it changed ownership, said Deshazer was a sensitive and caring person. She said the sky was the limit for what he’d do for other people, and she would always be greeted by him with a hug and a kiss every time she’d walk into the restaurant.
“He had no strangers in his life,” Thaden said.
Proesel said the news hadn’t been public for much of Tuesday, but she has been receiving messages of outreach nonstop, and people have been leaving flowers by the restaurant’s front door. She said Deshazer would be surprised to see how many people have been reaching out after hearing what happened.
“It’s been a really touching experience,” Proesel said.
Proesel said more information about services for Deshazer will be on the restaurant’s website in the coming days.