Stephanie Marie Dawson, 45, of Weirton, WV, died suddenly and tragically on Friday, October 8, 2021, at her residence.

Stephanie will always be remembered as a bold, strong, and caring person, even after taking her own life. The manner of Stephanie’s death does not change her impact on this world. It only reminds us we have more work to do as far as offering support to first responders–especially people like Stephanie — who dedicate their lives to protecting abused and neglected children at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Stephanie was born on December 2, 1975, in Weirton, WV. She was the daughter of the late Alice Mae Dawson and the late Jerry R. Welch.

Stephanie graduated from Brooke High School in 1994 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from West Liberty State College in 1998. Stephanie worked hard each day to ensure the lives of children were enriched through protections, clothing, and housing throughout her 20+ years as a Child Protection Senior Case Manager and in other roles at DHHR. Having worked most recently in Wheeling, and previously in Weirton, she traveled the entire state of West Virginia fighting so marginalized children had a voice.

Many will remember Stephanie for her devotion to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates, as well as pop culture interests, which include rock music, comic books and movies, and collectibles. No one will forget her affinity and excellence in baking, her soft spot for animals, and her passionate dedication to the welfare of children.

In addition to her mother, Stephanie was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, John and Alberta (Seitz) Dawson Kruger and her late husband William Dawson Jr.; six aunts, Alexis (Dawson) Jablonski, Sherry (Stevenson) Poarch, Janet (Welch) Dawson, Betty (Welch) Ferrelli, Rose (Mitchell) Dawson, and Marge (Dawson) Emmanuel; and an uncle, William “Sonny” Dawson.

Stephanie is survived by her sister, Lisa Altschuler Liberman and her husband, Adam Liberman of Brunswick Hills, OH; beloved nephew, Benjamin Altschuler, whom she spoiled and treated as her own; her best friends, Ruth Ann and Scott Douglass and their daughter Abigail Hughes; an uncle, Charles Dawson; an aunt, Anna Lee Johnson; and numerous cousins including, Stacy Kasprowicz and her husband, Dave, and their daughter Candise; Walter Dawson and his wife, Kim; Bill Dawson and his wife, Sue, and countless numbers of children of the State of West Virginia that she served through her job but treated and cared for as if they were her own.

A private service was held at James Funeral Home in Follansbee.

Since Stephanie always cooked for everyone else, a public potluck Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, October 16 from noon-3 p.m. at the Follansbee Steel Pavilion in the Follansbee Park, across from the pool. Please bring a drink or dish you know she would have liked, along with a picture of yourself with her for the Book of Remembrance. Wear your black and gold, if so inclined.

Stephanie lived a life of service to others, particularly children in the worst and saddest conditions. She only wanted the best for every child, and her life was touched by all of them. Her family wants everyone to remember to check in on their loved ones, even when it seems they are fine. Let them know they are making an impact and are loved.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to causes close to her heart: Comfort Cases – Inspiring Communities to Bring Dignity and Hope to Youth in Foster Care – https://www.comfortcases. org, PetsMart Charities – https://petsmartcharities.org, or National Alliance on Mental Health – Wheeling -https://namiwheeling.org/ donate_now/.

The James Funeral Home of Follansbee, WV (304) 527-1717 is honored and privileged to serve the Dawson family during this time of extreme sadness while also celebrating an impactful life.