Dana Gauthier Jr. dies at age 9 | July 25, 2007 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - July 25, 2007

Dana Gauthier Jr. dies at age 9

Dana Alfred Gauthier Jr., a 9-year-old boy whose courageous two-year fight against brain cancer was an inspiration to many, died July 22 at his Palo Alto home.

He was born March 30, 1998, to Dana Sr. and Cathy Gauthier. He attended Walter Hays School.

"He was a very kind, calm, mature little boy," said Edie Chong, his kindergarten teacher. "He always had a smile on his face and took care of others."

Two years ago, he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Throughout his treatment, he continued to go to school and participated in almost all of his activities. "He didn't want anyone to feel sorry for him," said his third-grade teacher Diana Baker. "When Dana was at school, he was just one of the kids. That's the way he wanted it."

Known as DJ to his friends, he loved to play sports, especially soccer, and was an active member of Cub Scout Den 6, Pack 57. For the past two years, Den 6 has donated the proceeds of its popcorn sales to the Center for Brain Tumor Research at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. This year the boys sold more than $10,000 worth of popcorn, raising $2,500 for cancer research. Dana was one of the top two salesmen.

"Dana stood out as a kid who really believed in the part of scouting that was about community service," said his Cub Scout den leader, Rob Schoeben. "He was always thinking about other people, even when he needed other people to be thinking about him."

In addition to his parents and three sisters, Dana Jr. is survived by his grandmother; one aunt; six uncles; and 16 cousins.

Calling hours will be on Sunday, July 29, 5-6 p.m. (open casket) and 6-8 p.m. (closed casket) at the Roller, Hapgood & Tinney funeral home, 980 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Funeral services will be Monday, July 30, at noon at the First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto, followed by a graveside service at Alta Mesa cemetery, Palo Alto and a reception at the First Congregational Church at approximately 3:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Lucile Salter Packard Foundation for Children's Health, Children's Brain Tumor Fund, 770 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, Attn: Denise Ellestad

Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation, 235 Pine St., 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104 or www.makewish.org.


Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 26, 2007 at 7:09 pm

My heartfelt condolences go out to Gauthier family;
I was in classes with both of Dana's sisters, and I could not begin to imagine what they and their family are going through right now.

Like this comment
Posted by Liz
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Jul 27, 2007 at 5:58 pm

My son was a classmate of Christina's, and I am aware of the lovely Gauthier Family. I have raised two sons, one of whom has a serious medical condition. I did not know DJ personally, but understand and am very touched by reports of his community-minded and loving spirit, and his desire to be "just one of the guys." I respect his scouting intests, shared by my sons also. My heart-felt sentiments go to those who know and love DJ. My sympathy runs deeply for his family, as their loss is great. God Bless You.

Like this comment
Posted by Aric Zoe Leavitt
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2007 at 1:20 am

I attended DJ's memorial service at the church and was in total awe over the huge number of friends and followers this boy had. Without knowing him, I could easily see this was a child whose humble spirit was in perfect, peaceful harmony with himself, with others, with life, with God, and even with this imperfect world. As much as I've mourned this week over this family's loss, it was a rewarding experience for me to be reminded how easy it is to live an exemplary life of voluntary submission, serving and helping others so nobly and gracefully as DJ did, without a selfish bone in his body. I feel his community will likely never be the same again, as it strives to establish some semblance of virtue in a world seemingly gone awry with corruption run amok. Transformation is worthy of prayer, and Palo Alto can light that spark which will outshine the mundane and the indifferent. I have but one regret, namely not having the opportunity to meet this young kingly saint before he was called home. Dana Gauthier Jr. has given us a blueprint - let us respond in a collective spirit of Godly obedience and salt the earth, and we too will know the peace that passes all understanding.