Gilbert woman who died from bear attack remembered as tireless volunteer - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Gilbert woman who died from bear attack remembered as tireless volunteer

Services set for Tuesday at LDS church

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Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011 11:16 am | Updated: 2:05 am, Thu Aug 25, 2011.

Funeral services for Lana Hollingsworth, the Gilbert woman who died last week from injuries suffered after she was mauled by a bear in Pinetop, are scheduled for Tuesday.

The memorial’s theme will likely be her spirit of service.

“Her volunteerism spread deep throughout the community,” said Kim Yonda-Lead, volunteer coordinator for the Gilbert Fire Department. “It was something she liked to do: Being there to help others and make a stressful situation better through compassion and caring.”

Hollingsworth, who was 61, volunteered in three capacities with the Gilbert Fire Department and dressed up as a clown to provide humor therapy at local hospitals.

“I recollect that Lana showed up to help fill sand bags and kept all of us engaged with her willing desire to serve,” said Gilbert town manager Collin DeWitt, a former fire chief. “While she didn’t know that she would be taken from us prematurely, she crowded service into each day as if it were her last. She is missed.”

On June 28, Hollingsworth was walking her dog near her family’s vacation home in Pinetop when a bear rummaging for trash attacked her. She suffered severe lacerations of her scalp and arms and contracted an infection from bacteria carried in the bear’s claws. Wildlife officials later located the bear and killed it.

She underwent 11 surgeries before dying from a brain hemorrhage on Monday at a Scottsdale hospital.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1865 S. Higley Road.

“There are many grieving hearts in Gilbert,” Mayor John Lewis said in a statement. “Lana is held dear in the hearts of Gilbert staff, volunteers and residents. She gave an endless amount of time, energy, love and devotion to our town, and she will always remain an important part of our successes. To Lana’s family: Thank you for sharing this beautiful and giving woman with our town.”

After retiring as a loan officer, Hollingsworth began volunteering with the Gilbert Fire Department in 2007. She was a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member, a community assistance volunteer and CPR instructor.

“She had a very magnetic personality,” Yonda-Lead said. “It was easy to see she was passionate about serving others and the community. …

“She would teach the (CPR) techniques to teenagers and adults, and she had a unique ability to connect with both of them. It was amazing to see her in action.”

According to research by state officials, Hollingsworth was the seventh victim of a bear attack, and first fatality, since 1990.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6301 or dzeiger@evtrib.com

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