Tara Leigh Whitacre Downer left her family and friends to be with her Father in heaven August 8, 2010.

Tara was born August 4, 1958 in El Reno, Oklahoma to parents Melvin Whitacre and Ann Kiker Whitacre.†

Tara spent her early years in Oklahoma, West Virginia and then moved to Houston, Texas and later to Austin, Texas.† She was a graduate of St Thomas Episcopal, Houston, Texas and Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas earning bachelorís and masterís degrees.

Tara and Steven Downer were joined in marriage August 18, 1979 and they rejoiced in the birth of their son, Ryan Lennon, and daughter, Christina Elise.† Tara welcomed many into her life that needed a mentor and a friend.† She was able to encourage many young people to realize their dreams even when others were unable to see their potential.† She shared her knowledge, but more importantly she taught life lessons that enabled them to be a valued part of the community.† Tara was first and foremost a teacher, not just by her words but in the way she related to all people.† Taraís wish was fulfilled when her earthly body was donated to medical research in the hope that cures could be found for other people.†

She leaves us now with sad hearts, but joins her family members who have gone to heaven before her; her father, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.† We who are left behind must live our lives in a way that would continue to reflect the ideals that Tara held so strongly.† Compassion for others was Taraís life.

We, her family, Steve, Ryan, and Elise; parents, Charlie and Ann Katzer; sister, Lori Young; brother, Mike and Melissa Katzer; sister, Monica Katzer; nieces, Corinne and Mike Sikes, Channing and Jacob Schreyer, Chelsea and Candace Young; aunts, Kathy Gholston and family, Carol Katzer; and uncle, Lenn Katzer now face each day with sadness for our loss, but rejoice in knowing that Tara will now be free to run and not grow weary and walk and not be faint.† Her multitude of friends have been blessed to have known Tara and will be better people because of being a part of her life.

There will be a celebration of Taraís life at 2 p.m., August 28, 2010 at Painted Horse Pavilion in Buda, Texas.

Donations honoring Tara may be made to Hospice Austinís Christopher House, 2820 E. MLK Blvd, Austin, TX 78702, or the MS Society, or a charity of your choice that would honor the ideals of compassion and kindness that Tara felt for all mankind.