In the early morning of October 10, 2016, Dana Elizabeth West, age 28, of Sugar Land, Texas, passed away peacefully. Dana's mother found Dana in her room, sitting in "her spot" on the sofa, slumped over but with her cell phone in her hand. Dana's last activity was early morning texting to a couple of her friends to express her regret for her delayed response to their texts, to offer words of encouragement for their achievements, and to inquire about the status of her friend's pregnancy and her plans to deliver a baby gift sometime...
In the early morning of October 10, 2016, Dana Elizabeth West, age 28, of Sugar Land, Texas, passed away peacefully. Dana's mother found Dana in her room, sitting in "her spot" on the sofa, slumped over but with her cell phone in her hand. Dana's last activity was early morning texting to a couple of her friends to express her regret for her delayed response to their texts, to offer words of encouragement for their achievements, and to inquire about the status of her friend's pregnancy and her plans to deliver a baby gift sometime in the near future.Dana seemed to always care about her friend's well-being and happiness, even to the end.
Dana was born late in the evening on Saturday, July 23, 1988 at Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. Of course, Dana's parents Greg and Lyndal Rivers West were present as well as Dana's 8-year-old (at the time) brother, David. Dana's mother, Lyn, was in labor with Dana all day long. Dana was finally delivered by Caesarian section. The delivering physician said afterward if he had known Dana was going to be such a big baby he would have "taken" Dana earlier and saved Lyn all the time in labor. Dana's parents were told at the time Dana was the second largest baby ever born at Hermann.a whopping 12 pounds, 8 ounces. And for the first couple of years of Dana's life she remained big; but, by the time Dana started kindergarten she was one of the smallest kids in her class, her best friend Stacey was more than a head taller than Dana. Dana's diminutive size earned her the nickname "Dainta" from Stacey's sister, Stephanie.a name Dana's dad often used throughout Dana's life. And Dana remained petite, often shopping in the kid's departments even when she was in her teens and 20's.
After graduating from Clements High School in Sugar Land in 2005, Dana spent the next few years exploring her options and interests, trying to find herself and what her calling in life should be, and all the while taking a variety of classes at Wharton Junior College. Dana longed to travel the world, she cared about all kinds of people, especially kids, and liked to help them in whatever way she could.usually providing an empathetic ear and a kind heart to help guide them. Dana decided becoming a teacher would allow her to apply these life gifts to a profession that she hoped would also allow her the opportunity to travel. With those goals in mind, Dana enrolled at the University of Houston Sugar Land campus and studied Curriculum and Instruction with passion and diligence, finally graduating on May 13, 2016 with Magna Cum Laude honors and earning a Bachelor of Science in Teaching and Learning. Dana finally had a vision and a goal, and was equipped with the tools to pursue them. But a higher power had other plans for Dana, and took her away before she could even begin to embark on the next chapter of her life.
In the short time Dana was with us, she touched so many in significant ways. The consensus among all Dana's friends and acquaintances is that she was a loving and caring person, someone who was always there for others, willing to reach out and help those who felt lonely or "different". Dana loved the book and the movie version of "To Kill a Mockingbird". Dana's father, Greg, remembers sitting with Dana and her brother, David, when they were only 5 and 13 years old and watching the movie. Perhaps it was this story of cruelty and prejudice and injustice toward those who were not like others that aroused the caring spirit and the compassionate concern Dana had for others throughout her life.
The essence of Dana's sympathetic spirit and her desire to ease the pain felt by others is truly expressed by Dana's many friends in their Facebook postings. Dana's empathy for those who are perceived as "different" and her desire to make them feel welcomed and appreciated is most elegantly expressed by Dana's childhood friend, Alfredo Alarcon, in his post:
"I was 12 when I moved to the US. I really did not speak any English and thus had a lot of difficulty making new friends. I had lots of people who talked to me and asked me things and were nice and friendly but it was sort of in the way you are nice and friendly to a young child or a pet, not as a friend you take seriously.
Then I met Dana. I struggle to recall the specific circumstances, time, place, or even what we talked about with my limited English in that first meeting, but I remember very, very clearly her face, her expression, demeanor, and tone of voice, because it was different from everyone else's. She was straightforward and curious and kind, and she became my first friend in this whole new life I was leading.
I always remember Dana as being different, different and kind. And not different in the way they tell you you ought to be, but in a way that all the "paths" laid out for you by society just don't seem to fit, and you struggle because of it. She certainly struggled, because it is a hard thing to be special and different in a way that does not seem to be valued by the paradigms and systems in which our modern society is based, but through all the struggle I never once remember her not being kind, thoughtful, and as willing to reach out to somebody else struggling as the day she reached out to me."
So many of Dana's friends have expressed similar remembrances on Dana's Facebook page that describe Dana as a sweet, loving and caring person. And each friend's remembrance will always be cherished by Dana's parents, and will help them to move forward through this difficult period of loss and grief. I invite and encourage anyone who knew Dana and wants Dana to live in their hearts and soul to visit Dana's Facebook page to read and reflect on the joy and happiness Dana brought to their lives.
At 28 years-old, Dana probably had never even thought about her death and funeral arrangements, and so after personal reflection and family discussion, it was felt that Dana would prefer cremation to burial. A memorial event for Dana is planned for Saturday, October 29, 2016, 10:00AM - 11:00AM for family, and 11:00AM - 1:00PM for friends at the Settegast-Kopf Funeral Home, 15015 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, Texas 77478. Dana's parents would be honored and pleased if all of Dana's family and friends are in attendance to remember Dana and to say goodbye. For those wishing to remember Dana with a gift, Dana would probably like you to perform some random act of kindness on her behalf.something as simple as hugging someone you love and care about, or a donation to an animal rescue organization would be appreciated, or flowers can be sent to Settegast-Kopf, Dana loved delicate flower arrangements.