DeLana Kaye Honaker

DeLana Kaye Honaker
DeLana Kaye Honaker

DeLana Kaye Honaker, 57, of Amarillo, TX passed away on March 16, 2021. The immediate family will be celebrating her life privately.

DeLana was born in Amarillo, TX on February 15, 1964, to Earl and Linda Honaker. She had one younger sibling, Adina Rowland. DeLana attended Texas Woman’s University where she earned 3 degrees in occupational therapy. She earned her BS in 1994, and continued on to acquire her MA in 1999, and in 2001 she received her Ph.D. DeLana’s passion was working with children of all abilities and their families with an emphasis on evidence-based practice. As a pioneer and creative visionary, she contributed to over a dozen scholarly publications including textbooks, manuals, and position papers for clinicians, students and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). As well as a scholarly clinician, DeLana was a research scientist and a professor. She held positions as an Associate Professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, and an Adjunct Professor at both Texas Woman’s University and Texas Tech University. She volunteered as an accreditation evaluator for the American Occupational Therapy Association, was a board member of the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners, and served on the editorial board for both the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, the Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, and the Journal of Occupational Therapy Early Intervention & Schools. At the beginning of 2021, she was elected to Chair the Texas Woman’s University Therapy Pioneer Alumni Chapter. In 2014 DeLana received one of the highest professional achievements for recognition of her work through the AOTA. She was awarded the FAOTA, joining the Roster of Fellows for her significant contributions, including service, scholarship, teaching and leadership, to the field of occupational therapy in pediatrics and technology.  

While DeLana enjoyed the academic setting, she was also an outstanding clinician and business woman. She owned two businesses: Well Versed, LLD and Health Harmony Therapy, CLLC and was cherished by her patients and their families. 

DeLana was an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of occupational therapy as she was born with Usher Syndrome, a genetic disorder that is characterized by both progressive hearing and vision loss. The hearing loss was detected in childhood, and soon after high school, DeLana began to experience visual difficulties, but throughout her life she always persevered. In her words, she shared, “I am quite familiar with issues related to marginalization, discrimination, and limited opportunities for anyone who is just different,” and she encouraged others to recognize that, “Our words can convey equity in promoting justice, impartiality and fairness; and inclusion as an outcome to ensure everyone, and especially those that are diverse, actually feel invited and/or are welcomed.” 

DeLana made lifelong friends, adding to her family, throughout her career and was both a mentor as well as a devoted friend to a multitude of people from every walk of life. She will be remembered by them for her steadfastness, her honesty, her ebullient laugh, and her genuine interest and love for others. DeLana enjoyed travel, especially to the beach and experiencing the changing seasons. Her favorite color was purple, her favorite artist was Georgia O’Keeffe, and she loved irises, culminating in a rich appreciation for the often overlooked beauty in the natural world and disabled. As an app developer, jewelry maker, and talented artisan, she found great meaning in creative activity. Amidst her progressive health issues, she gave consistent and generous loving support to all. DeLana never tired in exploring how she could overcome another personal hurdle.

She was preceded in death by her father, Earl Honaker, her maternal grandparents, Mildred and Emit Smith, and her paternal grandparents, Olga and Clinton Honaker.

Survivors include her mother, Linda Kay Honaker, her sister, Adina Rowland, her brother-in-law, Lawrence Rowland, her nieces and nephews, Whitney and Samuel Black, Candace, Josiah, and Noah Rowland. She was a treasured aunt to her nieces and nephews, a wonderful sister, and a beloved daughter.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to https://www.boystownhospital.org/about/donate or https://donate.fightingblindness.org/webdonation

12 Replies to “DeLana Kaye Honaker”

  1. DeLana– prime example of “once a friend, always a friend.” We met annually at one conference or another, and always shared a genuinely warm greeting and meaningful visit. DeLana brought a smile and a positive spirit to every occasion and I will always remember her fondly. She is a treasured Pioneer alum and I am grateful for her example of selfless devotion to helping others.

  2. DeLana, you have and will always be a bright light in my memories of very special people who I have admired and who have inspired me through my life. Your intellect, ambition, and accomplishments were so beautifully balanced by your kindness to and love for everyone. You will be greatly missed

  3. DeLana, your legacy of leadership will live on in the minds & hearts of all blessed to call you friend & colleague. Peace & Comfort to all you loved & who loved you.

  4. DeLana shared these words for TWU OT students during the pandemic: “If someone hasn’t told you yet, I’M SO VERY, VERY PROUD OF YOU!! I remember well what it was like to struggle, study, worry, write, think, and sometimes just take a breath. While earning my degrees, I wondered many, many times if it was really worth it? Let me tell you, YES IT IS!!!!!!!!! In so many ways you don’t even know yet, it is worth every struggle, moment studying, everything you ever thought about and every single breath you took. I PROMISE you will be so very happy once you are done and get that degree in your hand and you move into your area of expertise (and yes, that degree has given you that area of expertise!) Again, I’m so very, very proud of you! You should be proud of you, too!”
    Her words meant so much then, and even more now. She lives on in every student she has connected with across her career.

  5. DeLana and I went to occupational therapy school together at Texas Woman’s University. She was a very sweet and loving person and was such a great influence in our profession. Prayers for her family during this time of loss. She will truly be missed.

  6. I’m still in total disbelief, but I’ve come to the realization that God had greater and bigger plans for you, DeLana.

    It was a privilege and honor to serve with you on the Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners.

    You will undoubtedly be missed!

    My condolences to the family.

  7. I hadn’t seen DeLana in well over thirty years , but obviously she was a very busy person during those years furthering her education and establishing herself in her field of occupational therapy.

    When I knew her I found her to be a very forthright and humble person who possessed a sense of compassion which I’m sure inspired her to work towards some lofty goals in her life to help others with her knowledge and kind heart.

    I’m sure like so many other people who knew her,, I’m surprised and sadden to know of her passing and hope more people of her kind are amongst us here on this planet. We certainly need more like her.

  8. To my good friend and fellow beach vacationer: you will be so missed by the OT world and many others who considered you both a friend and a colleague! Thank you for all you did for the profession and the inspiration you provided to your students, mentees, colleagues and friends. When I shared with a fellow OT, they remarked “I never met a more positive person!” In spite of chronic pain, our phone calls and visits were always focused on the future and “what’s next.” You certainly lived life to the fullest! You are one of the most resilient women I’ve ever met and I am grateful for our friendship. God bless your family and those of us who survive you; may our remaining days be lived in part as legacy to fulfilling the dreams and goals you left undone.

  9. We watched you grow with great pride through childhood, young adulthood, and then through your professional life with unyielding ambition and accomplishments. You were a leader and a model for your younger cousins and the newest generation to follow..
    Your generosity and courage in all your endeavors is, so far, unmatched by the rest of us.
    Rest In Peace. You’ve done much.

  10. Delana, you will always inspire and energize me to live life to the fullest. Thank you for being a beacon of light in the world. The memory of your life will continue to make this world a better place, for years to come.

  11. DeLana, your lfe was a blessing to each of us who met you. May memories help fill the gap your family and each of feel with your loss. God has a beautiful Texas Yellow Rose now!

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