Dakota Lynn Nelson was born on November 20, 2001, in Lehigh, Pennsylvania. Three months early, and at 1 pound and 12 ounces. That is less than a bag of sugar, but she was just as sweet. She was not given more than a day to live, but against all odds, that is exactly what she did. Dakota moved to Ohio in the spring of 2011 with her mom and siblings.
Dakota was a ray of sunshine through and through. A ball of energy. She grew up being a wonderful daughter, sibling friend, cousin, niece, and granddaughter. You could always find an explosive laugh within her, a cheesy joke, or a silly picture of her animals, not to mention the plentiful supply of her ponies and art, which she was always crafting. Anyone who got to talk to her for more than 5 minutes was sure to be shown her art, which she was so dedicated to.
Dakota was Allergic to most animals, but she loved them nonetheless. Horses was by far her most favorite, she was protective and could show up whenever you needed with a smile on her face. You could always count on random messages at any time of the day. My Little Pony was her favorite show even at 22 years old; I like to think that she carried a lot of the principles, and that it shaped her character.
She was never judgmental; she loved everyone as they were, with so much passion you couldn’t help but love them too. She had so much kindness. There was never a mean bone in her body unless someone had threatened those whom she loved. She had so much love for her mom and siblings, that it was so unending.
She would always make jokes on how short she was. She was so colorful; it didn’t matter if her outfits matched as long as she was wearing bright colors that shined as brightly as she did. She had such a boisterous way of simply being, she was so loud, with how she laughed and talk about things she enjoyed.
She loved drawing and art, during school you could never get her to make ANYTHING ELSE.
She was successful in the ROTC program when she was in high school. She stepped out of her comfort zone by doing this, and she grew confident in her personal capabilities, and she found such a lovely group of friends through it.
She wasn’t very social with her schoolmates. However, she was always quick to befriend her teachers. She loved seeing them and talking to them every day and grew very sweet relationships with a lot of them.
She graduated during covid 2020. It was hard going online as she had already struggled in person, but with the help of many, she did it. She got to walk, and she definitely earned her diploma.
During her senior year, she decided to dye her hair bright cherry red on a whim. If you know anything about Dakota, it is that she didn’t really like whims, but she shocked everyone when she showed up to school with her new hair. It showed of a confidence of hers.
When her niece Aspen was born, she was one of the last people to initiate holding the fresh baby. But slowly, she became such an important part of Aspen’s routine. She really stepped up and was the most sensational aunt that any kid could have ever asked for.
Dakota, after a lot of convincing, decided to get a job. She was very scared, but like anything she set her mind to, she excelled. She proved such responsibility and mindfulness through her job, and she got to experience new opportunities that I hope made her as proud of herself as it made her family. You never had to ask twice for help; it was just how her mind was set. You could always count on Dakota to be there, sometimes when you weren’t expecting it, but always when you needed it, even if you didn’t know it at the time.
The day came on January 24, 2024, when Dakota left us. Dakota was gone too early; her death was so unexpected and sudden. No one could prepare themselves for the devastation, the loss of this beautiful person. No words could ever express the magnitude of how much she will be missed. She had so much potential, and life left, it doesn’t seem fair for her to be gone so soon. She was so deeply loved.
Dakota would tell you to look on the bright side, she would want to make you smile at least once, to know that it won’t be this hard for forever.
For all we know, she now gets to run miles, ride bikes, and have laughing fits, all without having to catch her breath or use her inhaler. She gets to be surrounded by all kinds of animals like cats and dogs, more horses and unicorns, and Pegasus, more than she ever could count. Never having to use medicine, no nebulizer, iv drip, or needles in sight, her just existing as the perfect woman she was meant to be. She’s been reunited with her loved ones so deeply missed, and she’s a new guardian angel watching over us, making sure we don’t forget to smile.
Dakota is preceded in death by her grandparents, Bonita Adams, Lester Dale Adams, and David Nelson I; her uncles, Ian Nelson, Karl Adams, and Dan; her pets, Harley (the first dog ever had passed away in May of 2023) and Socks (cat).
Dakota is survived by her parents, Deniece Nelson and David Nelson; her grandparents, Dennis Pemberton and Donna Juba; her siblings (Dakota was the oldest sibling): Lars Nelson, Jade Nelson, Alexus Nelson; her uncles, Uncle Lester, Uncle Skippy, Uncle Mike, Chris; her aunts, Anna, Shannon, Teri, Misty, Jenny, Aunt Tif; her cousins, Viva, Micheal, Benjamin, Logan, Emily, Myrddin, Makenna, Drayven, Isaac, etc.; her niece, Aspen; her pets, Todd (most recent cat, was her baby, followed around), Flash (cat); and her best friend, Angel Punches, they met in fourth grade when Dakota first moved to Ohio. They have been best friends ever since meeting; they have never been out of touch and made it to every birthday, graduation, and summer sleepover. They were sisters, and Dakota loved Angel.
A Celebration of Dakotas’ Life will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at 3:00 PM at Zechar Bailey Funeral Home, Greenville, Ohio. The family will receive friends from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM on Thursday at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help offset funeral expenses.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy for the Nelson family may be shared at www.zecharbailey.com.