Be-loved wife, daughter, and sister, Tananeese Cross Massey, joined her creator on Monday, March 3, while in hospice care at her mother’s home in Tahlequah.
Born in Tahlequah on Aug. 7, 1973, to Phillip Raymond Cross and Virginia Alice Stroud, Tana’s cheerful and feisty spirit was evident to all who knew her, even as a young girl.
When the family moved to Austin, and then Colorado, before settling back home in Oklahoma, an endless number of friends from all walks of life were drawn to Tana’s natural leadership and her ability to find enjoyment in any situation.
Tana graduated from Durango High School in Colorado and attended Northeastern State University, where she attained excellent grades.
She worked as a dental assistant for several years, enjoying the camaraderie of her colleagues and her ability to help patients. Tana was a talented tennis player. She had a great interest in the humane treatment of animals and had planned a career in that field. She was an ardent Oklahoma Sooner fan and a fan of the Texas Rangers. Tana’s quick-wittedness and good humor were always uplifting to all who knew her.
Long after she began her courageous battle with cancer, she maintained a beautiful perspective about life and was a fighter. It was this unwavering independence and strong will that became most apparent in recent months.
Upbeat and brave, Tana spent her final weeks providing comfort and laughter to the numerous loved ones who visited. For this, and for so many reasons, Tana will be forever loved and admired for the many gifts she brought to others.
Tana is survived by her husband, Bryan Stroud of Tahlequah; her mother, Virginia Stroud of Tahlequah; her father, Phillip Cross of Anadarko; brother, Tsali Cross of Portland, Ore.; sister, Alison Cross, Anadarko. Among her many extended family members are Elizabeth Higgins, aunt; Roger Stroud, uncle; Don Stroud, uncle; Aimee Cross Hunter, niece; Kynzlee Ellis, niece; Gloria Sankadota, step-mother; Etheline Mithlo, sister; John Sankadota, brother; and Margie Sankadota, sister. She is also leaving her three cherished dogs, Sally, Slinky, and Carmen.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages friends to honor Tana’s unwavering advocacy for early breast cancer screening with donations to the breast cancer charity of their choice. In this way, may our dear Tana continue to help cancer survivors.
Private services will be held this week.