On Feb. 9, 2014, the world lost a very bright star. Tonya Leigh “Wildflower” Keller is now shining down on us from above, as she passed away unexpectedly and tragically at the young age of 46.
Born on Dec. 6, 1967, Tonya grew up in the Hood River Valley. She graduated from Hood River Valley High in 1986. Her mother, Mary Keller and her father, Jack Keller, raised her in a home of love and laughter, along with her two sisters, Lori Keller (Caveny) and Mindi Keller (Duckwall).
Tonya was indeed a “wildflower.” Her beauty and vivaciousness were infectious, and her smile could easily light up a room. She loved to write poetry, and expressed her artistic grace in many other profound ways, including art and song. She could be found dancing on both sunny days and balmy nights, in the rain and in the snow.
She danced her way into so many hearts, and the incredible number of people who visited her in her final days is an overwhelming testament to the beauty and joy that Tonya inspired in all.
Tonya’s heart was especially brimming with love and adoration for her nieces, Aisha, Hannah T, Mei Li, Jessamyn, and Hannah D, as well as for her stepdaughters Kyra and Lindsey and their children. Each can find comfort in the knowledge that they have quite the Guardian Angel to watch over them as they grow.
Tonya traveled, she danced, and she loved. She truly lived this life, and is an example for those who knew her to never take any moment in this precious existence for granted.
Wildflower, we will miss you, but we rest assured knowing that you are dancing on sun rays and moon beams, and looking down at us all with shining love and grace. We will see you in the twinkle of loved ones eyes. You were courageous facing difficulties in life, and you didn’t exit without a fight. It was just time for you to be truly, wildly, free.
Tonya is survived and will be dearly missed by her parents, Jack and Mary Keller of Hood River; her sisters, Lori Keller and her husband, Doug Caveny, of Hood River, and Mindi Duckwall and her husband, Jason, of Hood River; her nieces, Aisha Tumlinson, Hannah Tumlinson, Mei Li Keller-Caveny, Jessamyn and Hannah Duckwall, all of Hood River; her stepdaughters, Lindsey and Kyra; step-grandchildren, of Portland, and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her cousin Sean Currie.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Tonya Keller at Anderson’s Tribute Center this Saturday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tonya’s name to Helping Hands Against Violence.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of condolence for family.
“Every light begins with darkness
Every flower was once a seed
And with the sun and wind to test us
We are bound to be released”
—Wynonna Judd, “When I Reach the Place I’m Going”
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