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She was born Nov. 23, 1953, to Kenneth and Barbara (Averitt) Howard, who preceded her in death.
Dala was a 1972 graduate of Rushville Consolidated High School. She obtained her bachelor's degree in education in 1976 from Indiana State University and went on to obtain her master's degree in education from Ball State University and her license for teaching the emotionally disabled.
She is survived by two brothers: Ken Howard and Tom (Linda) Howard, Rushville; her husband, Scott Vonderheide; and their four children: Amy (Tony) Bultinck, Indianapolis, J.D. (Andrea) Vonderheide, Hamilton, Ohio, Jeni (Michael) Toudouze, Aledo, Texas, and Keevan Vonderheide, Terre Haute; as well as seven loving grandchildren: Hope, Mia, Lilah, Harper, Maddox, Hudson and Gracyn.
Dala served her community tirelessly. She retired from teaching two years ago after 38 years of inspiring hundreds of students to always give their best and to never give up on their dreams -- and to always keep reading! She inspired not only those students, but all who knew her as she never met a challenge that she did not face head on with a gusto and determination.
Dala also participated in several committees and boards at her church, St. John's United Church of Christ, Huntersville. Every summer she led the vacation Bible school program, helping to spread God's love to the children in such an electric way. Each spring she cherished her participation in the Easter ecumenical choir as well.
Dala's family and friends were the light of her life. Meeting her friends for a quick bite to eat and then to chat for hours were always a highlight for her. Of course, she never turned down an opportunity to babysit her grandbabies. She was loved by so many and inspired by so many more. Her legacy will live on far past the days God gave her to us here on earth.
Visitation is Wednesday, Aug. 17, from 4-8 p.m. at St. John's United Church of Christ. The funeral service will be conducted Thursday, Aug. 18, at 4 p.m. at the church with the Revs. Dennis and Linda Frische-Mouri presiding. She will be laid to rest at St. John's United Church of Christ Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to Moster Mortuary, Rushville.
Memorials can be sent to St. John's United Church of Christ Youth Fund, 300 N. Huntersville Road, Batesville, IN 47006; or Outrun the Sun for Melanoma Research, 8435 Keystone Crossing, Suite 175, Indianapolis, IN 46240.
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