More than 300 mourners were in attendance last week to remember 52-year-old Dana Wren as a man who cherished his family, loved nature and always had to be busy at something.
"It's an honor to see so many people here," said Dana's mother, Betty Wren Shaum. "We truly appreciate it."
Wren, 52, died in his sleep in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005. He was co-manager of the Quality Inn in Tusayan with his wife, Ann.
The funeral was on Monday, Sept. 26, at the Shrine of the Ages with interment following at Grand Canyon Pioneers Cemetery. Rev. Richard Mattson officiated.
Mattson, who had participated in Dana's marriage to Ann, and in the baptism of their daughters Jaquelyn, Jessie and Kelsey, spoke about the hope of resurrection and homecoming.
"We reflect on a lot of things," he said. "'Is this life all? Where did I come from, where am I going from here?' Dana has taken the next step in his eternal existence a little bit sooner than you and I expected."
Kelsey Wren offered a heartbroken goodbye to her father, saying "I hope to see you in my dreams and feel you in my heart."
Dana's uncle, Howard Wren, recalled his nephew's tight relationship with his father, the late Judge Laurance Wren.
Along with a lifelong connection with the wilderness, Laurance also instilled his own values of honesty, loyalty and hard work, Howard said.
Dana was also competitive, bagging his first elk at age 10. His school sports career filled a scrapbook with blue and red ribbons.
Less than two weeks before he died, Dana got to spend the day on Lake Powell with championship angler Jarrett Edwards. Edwards, who battled cancer, said that the conversation turned to mortality.
"What he wanted for his death is for his life to be celebrated," Edwards said. "He is a guy who lived every day to its fullest, now he is in a place with unlimited rounds for shooting and fish to catch to know how good life is for Dana."
Musician Jim Garvey sang the cowboy ballad "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and then read "Dana's Poem." Sandra Sangster, Dana's stepsister sang "Wind Beneath my Wings."