In loving memory of Dana Lou Garson


Dana Lou Garson (Raybuck) passed away on May 31, just days before her 82nd birthday. She was at home, surrounded by the love of her family. Dana was born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Marion Center, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Norman (Bummer) Raybuck and Mary (Simpson) Raybuck.

Dana graduated from Marion Center High School and Slippery Rock State College. She began her career in physical education at DuBois High School, where she met her husband, Bill Garson Jr., who was the special education director. They would have celebrated 60 years together in October. In 1965, they moved to Olympia, Washington, where Bill was a Hercules explosives sales representative and Dana was a PE teacher at Nisqually Middle School.

In the early ’70s, the family moved to Tenino, where Dana dedicated her life to her family, community and education. Dana was an active member of the Tenino community, serving on the Tenino Timberland Library Board and was instrumental in developing the local library. She helped pass many school levies. She was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she sang in the choir and helped start an after-school youth program. Her love for sports and working with kids led her to coach volleyball and basketball at Tenino High School. Dana and Bill were also part of the PATT Program at St. Peter’s Hospital with their favorite child, Heidi (adored schnauzer), where they mainly visited the psyche unit.

Throughout her life, Dana was involved in various organizations, including the St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation Board. She was a docent and trustee for the Governor's Mansion and a member of the Olympia First Methodist Church, Capital Lake Investment Club and P.E.O. She was proud to be a past president and member of the South Puget Sound Community College Foundation Board for 23 years.

Dana and Bill shared a beautiful life filled with family, friends, hard work, boating, golf, bridge, knitting, travel and adventures. They spent 17 years living in Tenino before moving to Sydney, Australia, for five years. They then lived in Salt Lake City before retiring to Olympia. Dana enjoyed people. She had a warm and welcoming nature, sharp intelligence, a brilliant personality, a keen sense of humor and a great laugh. She never knew a stranger. She loved to talk and was genuinely interested in everyone she met. She was a beloved and loyal friend who loved to stir up the best kinds of trouble.

Dana's family and friends brought her immense joy. She was preceded in death by her parents and Heidi (the penthouse princess). Dana is survived by her loving husband, Bill Garson Jr. (Chehalis); son, Bill Garson III, and daughter-in-law, Joni (Chehalis); daughter, Beth Garson (Olympia); grandchildren, Brandon Garson and Jacey (Chehalis), Alycia Balhman and John (Midland, Texas), and Christopher Bloomer (Georgia).

A celebration of life will be held on June 21 at 2 p.m. at the Olympia First Methodist Church. Instead of flowers, donations can be made to the Dana Garson Scholarship at South Puget Sound Community College or to the Olympia First Methodist Church.