Dana McGurren, age 85, died on February 3rd, 2024, at Maple View Memory Care where she has lived for the last six years. She suffered from Alzheimer’s for over ten years and was under the care of CHI Hospice at the time of her death. Her family is grateful for the excellent care Dana received from the wonderful staff at Maple View and also for the compassionate help given by hospice as she transitioned from this world to the next.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00PM, Thursday, February 8 at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck. Family will begin greeting guests one hour before the service begins.
Dana Marie Flanagan was born to Daniel and Svava (Thorleifson) Flanagan on July 18, 1938. She grew up on a farm near Gardar, ND in Pembina County. She frequently shared fond memories of her childhood with her sisters and brothers. She was a talented musician. She played piano and organ. She also had a beautiful singing voice. She wrote her own music. Her children are proud to share Dana’s original recordings in her memorial service.
Dana attended Concordia College for a year before transferring to UND. She graduated with a degree in music education. She married Thomas McGurren on August 29, 1960. The two welcomed five children together— Laurie, Jamie, Dan, Ginny, and Pat. Dana taught music in Grafton, ND until the family moved to Bismarck in 1964.
Although Dana was primarily a homemaker, she filled her need for music by teaching private piano and voice lessons from her home. Her children have vivid memories of listening to young pianists and vocalists after school most days.
Dana’s deep faith was extremely important to her. She was able to combine her love of music with her love for the Lord by getting involved with music ministry wherever she went. Dana was involved in music at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. She sang in the adult choir and directed the children’s choir. She also started the first contemporary Christian folk group with teenagers at Corpus Christi. She treasured the relationships she had with those teens.
Dana was a seeker with an adventurous spirit. She wasn’t afraid to try new things or places. Everywhere she went, she jumped into music ministry, bible studies, and helping anyone in need. During this time in her life, she moved to Arizona where she taught music in Many Farms, Chinle, and Tuba City. She loved Arizona, but ultimately chose to move back to ND to be close to her family.
Dana was a caretaker at heart. Over the years, she worked in prison ministries, the Dakota Foundation, Missouri Slope Nursing Home and Sunshine Acres (AZ) to name just a few. She touched many lives with her compassionate nature.
Her children believe that Dana’s greatest talent was her role as a mother. She involved herself in the individual interests of each child. She would pitch baseballs in the backyard and play “Horse” in the driveway. She’d also sew Halloween costumes and attend countless school activities. She provided a tender heart and a listening ear at all times. Even through her long journey with Alzheimer’s, she softened the blow with many sweet moments and life lessons that will be cherished. Dana is dearly loved and will be deeply missed.
Dana was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Luella Flanagan, Kathryn Sigfusson, and June Greenwood; her brothers, Daniel and Walter Flanagan; her niece, Ava Sigfusson, and her nephew Brad Sigfusson.
She is survived by her children, Laura (Patrick) Hoffman, James McGurren, Daniel McGurren, Virginia Bard, and Patrick McGurren. She also leaves behind her grandchildren, Kyle and Erik McGurren, Joshua Baker, Alexandra (Dietrich) Lind, and six great-grandchildren.
Feel free to give any memorials to the charity of your choice. The family suggests the Alzheimer’s Association, North Dakota Adult & Teen Challenge, and Gaia Home (hospice).