Tanya LaRue (Owen) Williamson, the daughter to the late Willis Earl Owen and Joan Marie Kendall-Owen, was born Dec. 9, 1952, in Natrona Heights. The final chapter in her life concluded Oct. 13, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. Tanya was an alum of Har-Brack High School in Natrona Heights. She was employed as a steelworker for many years with Allegheny Ludlum Steel in Brackenridge, and later at Robroy Industries in Verona. Yearning for more, she continued on acquiring an additional degree and certificates from the former Newport Business Institute and Career Training Academy, both in Lower Burrell. She took after her passion and entered the healthcare industry, where she worked as a medical assistant and home health aide. Tanya cared unconditionally for others, including family up until the time that she needed care for herself. Tanya was known as "Mom", "Grandma", "Aunt Tanya", "Cousin Tanya", "Sister", "Ms. Tanya", "Dear Friend" and by her cousin Keitha "Tang" and "Tangie-Rangie" and was beloved by all. She loved and enjoyed life. She had a heart of pure gold, compassionate listening ear and always offered a soft word of advice for any that needed it. She always brought sunshine wherever she went, with her bright smile and contagious laugh. It instantly would turn anytime into a good and fun time. She was the epitome of a strong woman. She gave her all and was a proud member of New Kensington. She was instrumental in starting the Summer Basketball League, of which later became known as the Gosby "Goose" Pryor Basketball League. Her love for the neighborhood continued with her effortless volunteering. She had a keen caring eye and overflowing heart that continually gave to multiple volunteer programs, such as Project Seed and the New Kensington Food Bank. Tanya had an untouchable ability and gift for cooking. She put her "whole-self" in her cooking and never disappointed. Anytime there was a gathering between family or friends, she was always asked to prepare the food. Her love of cooking did not just stop with the soulful entrees; she added baking to it as well. She spent much time with and enjoyed baking with her great-granddaughters, Charisma and Francesca. She had an epic ear for music, especially her oldies and gospel. The house stayed with music playing. Her flow also showed in her love for dancing. She had her own "production" company, because she was always taping and downloading the latest line dance, video or a "Madea" stage play. Tanya was a woman that enjoyed looking good and having a great time. She kept up with the latest games and always knew of a good deal as a fancy, frugal shopper. Loved ones who survive to cherish her memory and plan to meet her in the royal city is her mother, Joan M. Kendall-Owen; sons, Ricardo Owen Sr., Lindsey (Dorothy Collier) Owen, of New Kensington, and Troy Owen, of Brackenridge; brothers, Darryl Owen, of New Kensington, Derek (Taunya) Owen, of Indianapolis, Ind., Duane (Miklyn) Owen, of Centreville, Va.; sister, Kimberly Leonard-Smith, of New Kensington, and Lisa (Greg) Anderson, of Indianapolis, Ind. Tanya also leaves to cherish her memory her "very loved" great-granddaughters, Charisma and Francesca Houston, along with 23 grandchildren and 23 other great-grandchildren. She is also survived by many, many close loving cousins and close friends including maternal first cousins, Keitha Kendall-White, of Upper Burrell, Paul Derrick Carter and Lynn Sidney, both of Arnold, and paternal first cousin, Iris Owen, of New Kensington, and lifelong friend, Vera Turner, of Lower Burrell. Special friend Paula Moore and sister Kimberly Leonard-Smith were God sent angels who provided selfless care, compassion and comfort for Tanya from the onset of her illness. Their dedication and commitment to her care throughout the course of her illness was exceptional. The family would like to thank Tindell Care and Heritage Home Hospice for providing professional and compassionate in-home care and making her days comforting during her final course. Preceding her death were her father, Willis Owen, brother, Ranaldo Owen Sr., sister, Cathy Owen, and grandson, Jordan Jackson, of New Kensington. Family and friends will be received from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in the JOSEPH J. CARDARO FUNERAL HOME, 1125 Kenneth Ave., New Kensington, 724-337-3325. A funeral service will be held immediately following the visitation at 1 p.m. Burial will follow in Mt. Airy Cemetery, Natrona Heights.
Published in The Valley News Dispatch on Oct. 17, 2020.