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.