Dana Joy Ridinger, 60, passed away on Feb. 3, 2023 after a long fight with Crohn’s Disease. She was surrounded by her family.
There are few things she liked more than the Chiefs, Coca-Cola and the Dollar Store. In fact, there are only four things she liked more – her grand babies. Since becoming a Grandma in 2011, she made them her entire world. She will be watching over Dill, Sawyer, DellaRose, and Auttie Joy.
As “Grammy,” Dana passed on her love of gardening, baking and baby kitten season to her grandchildren. She attended every elementary party day, game, or activity she could. Her grandkids got away with A LOT more than Sara and I did.
Dana was an amazing mom to her daughters. She encouraged us to speak our minds, stir up a bit of trouble, to question the status quo, and to never – NEVER – accept less than what we are worth.
She taught us to never look at the floor while someone is brushing your hair (or you’ll get smacked with the hairbrush), to walk confidently (or she’d yell “PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN!” from the car window) and to put our Barbies away before we let our dog, Spudley, in for the night because he liked to chew on them (none of our Barbies ever had hands or feet. Thanks Spud.).
She banned SpongeBob from our house for two weeks when we were kids because she’d had enough of his annoying laugh, but she loved watching Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy and Doug with us.
Because of her, we know that if we need something from Dad, we should wait to ask until he is singing – because that means he’s in a good mood. Dad was always singing.
She taught us that if you feed a stray cat and name him Soxy – and fall in love with him – before my dad found out, we would get to keep him.
Her favorite child was the one who was in the room. She started our inside joke of telling literally everyone we love that they are our “favorite.” I know she had a lot of faves, and now we do too. Sara and I now have a hole in our hearts the size of our favorite mom.
As a wife, she refused to hold hands in public (she’d tell my dad to stop being clingy!), but she loved Dad with her whole heart. She met him in a parking lot. Dad needed his tv fixed so he could watch Mork and Mindy, and my mom’s dad repaired electronics. They fell in love in a K-Mart store. The rest is history.
Their marriage of 44 years taught my sister and I how two people can build a kingdom in one lifetime. All you have to do is focus on your family, give your husband a run for his money, and acquire several cats, chickens, and plants. Her husband, Rance, put up with all of her shenanigans (and probably initiated some of them!).
Together, they worked many, many years at Dody’s TV.
Dana’s best friend and soulmate was her sister, Leison. Together they were ornery, drove their children crazy, and never once stopped having fun. Their long talks, frequent visits and friendship sustained my mom. Leison was there through some of her darkest hours and always showed up with her soul full of sunshine. My mom is forever lucky to have had a friend like her – they only come once in a lifetime.
Dana was a unique soul. She didn’t care too much for music, she talked in her sleep, and she pitied stupid people. She was especially thrilled as her children, and now grandchildren, joined band. She refused to leave her house after 5pm and loved watching the birds through the kitchen window. She believed in ghosts, Big Foot, and aliens. Dana could rescue any plant and bring it back to life, got super pissed if you rummaged around in her purse, and HATED Amber’s tattoos. (Sorry, Mom.) She laughed when people fell down, drank her coffee black, and loved watching murder shows.
None of us know what to do now, so I guess we have a lot to figure out. One thing we do know is that she is surrounded by souls who she missed dearly. We are certain she is celebrating with her dad, mom, brother, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparents, and other family & friends she lost along the way.
I cannot put into words what my mom meant to our family, but she is so incredibly missed already.
A private memorial was held with her immediate family. In lieu of flowers for the family, we request a donation be made in her name to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

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