Dawn Therese Brancheau, 40, of
, formerly of Cedar Lake, Ind., passed away February 24, 2010 doing what she loved.
Inspired as a child after seeing a
show, Brancheau knew at an early age that she wanted to perform with the whales. While living her dream, she was a source of inspiration and joy to her family and friends. We are blessed to have been a part of her wonderful life and will forever cherish the memories of her in our hearts, minds, and souls.
Dawn's inherent love for others, for children and for animals were her life's passion. Her work with whales at
brought her great joy, and her skills as a trainer came naturally. Her love for animals extended beyond work. She volunteered at her local animal shelter, and her home was often the refuge for animals, including ducks, roosters, chickens, birds, bunnies and dogs.
Dawn was a 1987 graduate of Andrean High School in Merrillville, Ind. She went on to receive degrees in psychology and biology from the University of
, where she was active on the dance team and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
After college, Dawn met her husband and best friend, Scott Brancheau, in the cafeteria at SeaWorld shortly after arriving to pursue her lifelong dream. Scott and Dawn were married in 1996 in
. They have been living in St. Cloud with their chocolate labs, Ruger and Maggi, where they created a loving and welcoming home. Their door was always open to family and friends traveling to Orlando.
Dawn was the loving wife of Scott Brancheau, cherished daughter of Marion and the late Charles LoVerde Jr., daughter-in law to John and Terry Brancheau, dear sister of Deborah (Anthony) Frogameni, Charles (Tracy) LoVerde, Darlyne Klages, Diane (Jeffrey) Gross, and Thomas (Mary) LoVerde, sister-in-law to Lou-Ann (Joe) Morrill and Daniel (Lauren) Brancheau, loving aunt of Ali, Anthony, Vincent, Dominic, Mario, Francesca, Gianna, Melissa, Jessica, Jenny, Jonathan, Cole, Reve, Addie, Bethany and the late Nathan, godmother and honorary aunt to many and a once-in-a-lifetime friend to most.
Dawn had a strong faith in Christ and her fellow man and possessed the gift of loving well. She was an active member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, where she enjoyed Bible Study and was working to aid an orphanage in Africa.
Dawn was compassionate, loving and lived her short life to its fullest. With genuine joy and hope in her heart, she made all of our lives better for having known and loved her.
Visitation is Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, 7740 S. Western Ave., Chicago. Funeral Mass is Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel. Interment is at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in
Memorial services will be held in Orlando at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the