March 28, 1940 – September 1, 2012
A supporter of artists of all kinds, especially writers, poets, painters, and musicians, not just in terms of being a patron, but as a friend and booster, checking in with acquaintances new and old at bookstores, galleries, and craft shops throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Diane had a way of allowing people to open up to her – every new interaction, whether with a caregiver or a checkout clerk, had the potential to reveal touching personal stories. She had no fear of strangers – she could just as easily befriend an impoverished, scruffy chess player on the bus and invite him for an afternoon of snacks and conversation, or take an active interest in the education and artistic endeavors of someone hired to do yard work for the day.
Diane cherished correspondence – whether exchanging postcards and reviewing book drafts for a Chinese Catholic monk living in exile in the US, or sending notecards with cats and bunnies to decades-old friends.
And if a family member was into something, whether it be performing classical music, digging into philosophy and mysticism, or just wondering about a skin care regime, Diane would thoroughly dive into that topic, scouring libraries or even contacting researchers doing original work. As her parents had done for her when she was a childhood ballerina and pianist, she made sure that her son had all the teachers and tutors he needed for his endeavors as well.
Most of all, Diane had a love of books and authors, amassing a large collection of tomes on nearly any topic, and clippings and notations on anything that piqued her curiosity.
Diane left us on September 1st after a long battle with cancer. She was able to spend her final years living with family, and chose to pass at home. Family were at her side all the way through the transition.
As we sort through Diane’s belongings we have come to the realization that she left behind few physical “works” – evidence of her life on this earth – but rather that the people she touched, supported, and helped to flourish are still creating, still living a rich life. In this regard, Diane’s works are still producing gifts for all – in subtle, infinite, and indiscernible ways. We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she is, at this very moment, peppering all the great philosophers and poets with many questions.
Daughter of Harold and Marie Abel, Diane is survived locally by her son Bob and son-in-law Jason. She is interred with her late husband, Doug, in the Willamette National Cemetery. At her burial, a deer appeared, just as one had at Doug’s.