Jan. 28, 1950 — Nov. 30, 2016
Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of longtime educator, wife, sister, mother and friend Diane Smith who passed away on Nov. 30 in Albany.
Services will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, with a Mass at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pendleton. A luncheon will take place in the basement of the church immediately after, with a burial ceremony to follow at Olney Cemetery in Pendleton.
Diane was the oldest of five sisters; Patty Broker of Pendleton, twins Barb McClure and Bev Carman of La Grande, and Vickey Larsen of Beaverton. Diane also leaves behind her best friend and high school sweetheart, Frederick Smith. The two celebrated 44 years of marriage this past June, and were the epitome of love, marriage, and friendship.
Diane is also survived by her children, Jessica Durrant of Grants Pass, her husband Michael, and their two daughters Abigail Mary and Madeline Diane. Diane also leaves behind a son, Micah Smith of Albany, his wife Jessica, and their three children Treyson, Ellison and Weston.
Diane began an amazing career in education when in the 4th grade (and utilizing those oldest sister skills) she began as playground monitor. After graduation from Pendleton High School in 1968, Diane attended Whitman College while the love of her life, Fred, lived hours away attending Oregon State University. After graduation, the two married, living in Pendleton where Diane began her career at Pendleton Junior High, and helping Fred on the ranch. Over the years they had two children, Jessica and Micah, before the family moved to Albany in 1990.
Diane continued as an educator, and lifelong champion for doing what’s best for students at all times, in the Greater Albany Public School District. She held numerous positions in her educational career, including instructing at the elementary, middle, high school and university level, she was a principal, and Director of Curriculum. She was a staunch advocate for standards-based and proficiency education, and is seen among her peers far and wide as an expert in the field. She is a published author, a mentor to many, and adviser to countless educational institutions. Diane didn’t believe we needed to think outside the box with respect to educational reform, but rather asked attendees of her trainings, “what box?” She radiated joy and possibility that was contagious.
Diane was a teacher of teachers, a principal of principals, and a mother to many mothers. Diane, also known as “Nana Claus”, did not need the Christmas season as an excuse to spoil grandchildren. She was the most giving person and will be greatly missed in multiple communities.
To carry forward Diane’s passion of helping students, the family has set up the Diane Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund with the help of the Albany Public Schools Foundation. The family hopes the funds collected will be sufficient enough to significantly impact the continuing, lifelong education sought by selected graduates from South Albany High School, West Albany High School, and Albany Options School. Donations may be made in Diane’s honor by visiting www.AlbanyPublicSchoolsFoundation.org or calling 541-979-2773.
Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.fisherfuneralhome.com.