‘She was an absolutely amazing woman’

Honoring late Dodge City Mayor Tawana Canada

Late Dodge City Mayor Tawana Canada’s granddaughters Katie Waters, Kelena Carpenter and Kylee Phillips are shown with Dodge City Mayor Pro-Tem Jason Burney and the plaque dedicated to Canada. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

DODGE CITY, Ala. – Family, friends and colleagues gathered at the Dodge City Senior Center on Saturday for the unveiling of a plaque dedicated in remembrance of late Dodge City Mayor Tawana Canada, who spent much of her time with the seniors in attendance at the center.  

Canada served as mayor for about 13 years before she passed away unexpectedly in January 2022. She was first elected to the Dodge City Council in 1996 and was appointed mayor in 2009 following the death of Mayor Perry Ray. She went on to be re-elected twice.  

The Dodge City Town Council unveiled the plaque for the seniors for the first time on Saturday.  

It reads: “In memory of our beloved Mayor Tawana Canada for all her love, dedication, and hard work for the Dodge City Senior Center. Without her the Dodge City seniors would not be what they are today! She was loved by all.” 

Many shared sentiments about Canada.  

Mayor Pro-Tem Jason Burney said, “Seniors were her pride and joy. No one could replace Tawana and we’re not going to try to replace her.” 

Pastor Paul Rivers stated, “Tawana started life early understanding what work is. She knew from her childhood that anything you wanted, you had to work for it. As I pause today and celebrate the life of mayor Tawana Canada, I think about how anyone that knew her, knows more often than not, she would put her own wellbeing aside when she saw the need of someone else that needed to be helped.  

“Mayor Canada was the leading effort to secure this building for the senior citizens, and what a blessing it is. Tawana was very instrumental in securing playground equipment and making sure that the park was at its peak for the children. She loved her seniors, but she loved the children too… 

“Many times, late in the evening, I would see her coming and making sure the park was closed up for the day or opening up for the next day. That takes dedication. It takes commitment. I watched as she served this community, served us with, I believe, integrity and ethical commitment. No matter how busy or involved her itinerary was, I always found her to be a smiling, welcome source of energy.” 

Senior Francis Hunter said, “I admired her friendliness. It’s not very many mayors that would furnish her office from yard sales, but it takes people like that to make the world go round.” 

Town Deputy David Pitts, who was appointed by Canada, said “That is the hardest working woman I believe I have ever met in my life. That woman has more respect from me than anybody I could possibly tell you. As hard as I try to do things in this town by myself, she would never allow that. We were out picking up deer on the side of the road and blocking traffic, and she’s right out there with us, helping us block traffic. She was an absolutely amazing woman and that’s exactly how she’ll always be remembered.” 

Canada’s son Brian Waters shared, “My mother loved Dodge City and she loved everybody here. Dodge City was her child, I should say, because she loved it just as much as she loved any one of us. I’d watch my mother, she’d be in pain, but you couldn’t talk her into staying home, and I’d worry about her so much during that time, but this is what she loved to do.” 

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