|Birth: ||Jul. 26, 1950|
|Death: ||Dec. 25, 2008|
Diane (Di) Marie McKenzie, 58, of Lenexa, KS passed away on Christmas morning, her favorite holiday, at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. She was diagnosed with cancer in October and was currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Diane was born on July 26, 1950 in Kansas City, KS to Lawrence and Ruby Wittman. She attended Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and Bishop Ward High School. After High School she took evening and weekend classes, graduating with honors from Rockhurst College. Diane's 37 year career was with the Social Security Administration in Kansas City, MO, in Human Resources. She was honored with many awards including the prestigious Commissioner's Citation. She thoroughly enjoyed retirement since July, 2005. Diane's zest for life was apparent in everything she did. Always smiling, she loved to travel the country with her husband, dance, entertain, and plant a zillion flowers every spring. She loved tradition and family, making the most of every holiday. She was active in Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption. Diane's incredible strength, generosity and caring ways made her an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She has an abundance of wonderful friends, neighbors and relatives and will be greatly missed by all. She is preceded in death by her father, Lawrence J Wittman. She is survived by her loving husband Walt; mother Ruby Wittman of Overland Park, KS; sisters Linda Wilson of Overland Park, KS, Donna and husband Chuck Robinson of Lenexa, KS; brothers Les and wife Pat Wittman of Austin, TX, and David and wife Cindy Wittman of Kansas City, MO. Also surviving are two stepsons, Kent McKenzie and Jane of Kansas City, MO and Eric McKenzie and wife Lisa of Holt, MO; sister-in-law Leila Littrell of Raytown, MO; five step grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind her beloved four-legged daughter, Heidi. The Celebration of her life begins with a visitation on Sunday, December 28th, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Her memorial service will be held on Monday, December 29th, at 1:00 p.m. Both services will be at the Porter Funeral Home located one block west of 85th & Quivira in Lenexa, KS. Burial will follow at the Resurrection Cemetery immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to ATRA (Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption). Envelopes will be provided at the funeral home.
Published in the December 27-28, 2008 editions of the Kansas City (MO) STAR
The following memoir was recollected by Diane's mother Ruby Wittman in 2009 "as told to" her daughter and Diane's kid sister Linda (Wittman) Wilson.
It was a hot July afternoon when the labor pains began. I was taken to Providence Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas…
Lawrence and I married on August 27, 1949, and since I was nearly 29 years old and he was 25, we wanted to start a family right away. Neither of us had a preference of a boy or girl first. Since I had been a working gal from age 18, I hadn't been around pregnant women and did not realize how quickly I would gain weight, and the doctor said nothing. Consequently, I gained 40 pounds!
My doctor, Eugene Reeves, was on vacation, so I had to contact a Dr. M.R. Fitzpatrick. I had a very hard and painful delivery. But, at 11:42 PM, July 26, 1950 (her due date) we had a beautiful, 9 pound 5 ounce baby girl! She was worth every minute of pain that I had. Her head and chest each measured 14 ½ inches and she was 22 inches long (the longest of my five children). Dr. Fitzpatrick was the most patient and wonderful doctor I've had to this day. We named our little girl Diane Marie.
Diane and I spent our first couple of days in the hallway of Providence Hospital, as all of their rooms were full. The total hospital and doctor bill was $211.16!
We came home from the hospital when Diane was eight days old. Her first home was a 29-foot house trailer parked by our DX filling station at 1305 Washington Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas. I breast-fed her for the first nine months.
She was baptized in St. Peter's Cathedral, August 13, 1950. Sponsors were her maternal Grandparents, Vincent and Mamie Kleinsorge.
She was a very good baby but a determined thumb sucker! She did not crawl as most babies do, but could stand alone at nine months old. Then she started walking at 10 months old. At 10 ½ months, I tied cloth sacks over her hands so she could not suck her thumbs. She was broke of the habit in four weeks.
At one year old, she spoke several works very plainly and could also mimic several animals which people loved to hear her do, especially a baby chick when she would say "peep, peep" in a high voice. That was so cute.
Due to having diarrhea every day, she was not potty trained until 22 months old. When she needed changing, she would get a diaper and bring it to me! We could not give her sweets so she did not know what candy was. She made up for it when she got older!! Once the diarrhea stopped, there was never another problem.
She continued to be a good and happy child. Her Aunt Willie couldn't believe at 2 years old that Diane wouldn't touch anything that was sitting on her coffee table or any place in her house. I remember when I took Diane with me to the doctor's office; the nurses were amazed at the way Diane just sat on the floor where I put her until the doctor was finished with me.
At Christmas Mass, when she was 2 ½, she started singing "Wingle Bells" out loud when she heard the bells ring at Offertory time.
During the summer, Diane's Aunt Edna would take her to the Germantown baseball games. Everyone loved her and she would go from one to another of the spectators, clapping, etc. when the others did. Her Uncle Paul was the pitcher.
When Diane was 2 ½, her brother, Les, was born. While I was in the hospital, my sister Inez and her husband Marvin kept Diane. When night came, Diane kept crying and saying she wanted her "how-eeps". They could not figure out what she wanted. Finally, she went to sleep. The next day they asked me what "how-eeps" were. It took me quite awhile to figure out what Diane meant. She wanted her house slippers!
Diane always wanted everything to look pretty and shiny and what she did, she would do her best, a trait she had throughout her life. She loved to polish my refrigerator and stove to make them shine and would work until they did so. It didn't always work out for the best. One sunny day in April when she was just under three years old, while playing outside she found a two or three inch piece of wood and an old can of tar. She proceeded to "paint" dabs of tar all around our blue car! Her Dad nearly fainted when he saw it. She knew he was upset and when he asked "why did you do it?", she looked at him with tears in her big blue eyes and said, "I just wanted to make our car pretty for Easter when we go to Aunt Edna's tomorrow"!! There was no way he could punish her but he did have to work to get the tar off.
She continued to talk very plainly compared to her four siblings. I did not send her or any of my children to kindergarten. I preferred to teach them myself.
When Les was born on January 31, 1953, we needed more room. So we traded our 29-foot Streamlite Trailer for a 43-foot Rollohome Trailer, and parked it by our filling station. It was like living in a "mansion"! We even bought a little red piano for our new home.
For Christmas, when Diane was four years old, her Dad and I gave her a large, beautiful doll named Susie. Diane kept Susie throughout her entire life. She did put her in a doll hospital for a while and they made her look like new again.
We lived in the 43-foot trailer until September 1955 when we bought our first house at 1978 Parallel in Kansas City, Kansas. The house was very close to the Blessed Sacrament School and Church.
Linda Kay was born November 25, 1955. Now Diane had a little baby sister.
September 4, 1956 was Diane's first day of grade school. She was excited as most 1st graders are, and at 6 years old she was missing some front teeth. I was glad that I could watch her walk all the way to school.
In June of 1957, Diane started taking piano lessons from Margaret Seymour. She did very well and was in her teacher's recitals in 1958 and 1959. Also, in June 1957 she began taking tap, ballet and acrobat lessons at Dorthea's Personality School in Kansas City, Kansas. She performed in their recitals at Washington High School in 1958 and 1959. She was very good at tap dancing and was asked to do a number at Monsignor Spurlock's birthday program on March 1, 1960. She did "Top Hat and Tails" tap dance at Blessed Sacrament School. I bought her outfit for that tap number. She and several others in the class did a cute tap number "My Gift To You", and I made her a pretty blue dress for that one. Of course, I thought she was the prettiest little girl there!
December 8, 1957, her second grade class made their First Holy Communion in Blessed Sacrament Church. Rev. J. K. Spurlock was pastor. Diane was very pretty in her white dress, veil, shoes and tiara.
April Fool's Day, April 1, 1958, turned out to be a big surprise for all of us. Twins, Donna and David, arrived that day joining 2 ½ year old Linda, 5 year old Les, and 7 year old Diane. Even though only 7, Diane was really a big help to me, mainly folding diapers. Back then I had to use cloth diapers, wash, dry and fold them. With two babies there were a lot to be folded! And Diane folded a lot of them, without complaining.
The childhood diseases Diane had:
June 1957 Chicken Pox;
December 16-24th 1957 Measles and Mumps;
October 24-29th 1959 Scarlet Fever;
1960 3-day Measles;
1967 Mumps again.
No after effects from any of them.
At 5 years old, Diane was 3'10" tall, weighed 46 ½ pounds.
At 10 years old, she was 4'9" tall, weighed 74 pounds.
At 13 years old, she was 5'6" tall, weighed 124 pounds.
At 18 years old, she was 5'7 ½" tall, weighed 125 pounds.
Diane was confirmed in Blessed Sacrament Church on April 5, 1959 by Archbishop Edward J. Hunkler. Her Sponsor was her Aunt Laura Wittman. Her full name now – Diane Marie Laura Wittman.
After moving to Parallel in 1955, Diane became friends with a neighbor girl, Loretta Knipper. Loretta was two years older than Diane but they played together pretty well. A family by the name of Kierl moved into the neighborhood with a daughter named Charlotte whom Diane liked very much. One afternoon, Loretta came over to play and later Charlotte came over. Sometime during the afternoon, Diane and Charlotte sneaked off and went to Charlotte's house. Loretta went home and told her Mom and was her Mom ever mad!! It was quite some time before she let Loretta come back over to play. Diane felt bad and realized she had done wrong.
In June of 1960, Diane began taking swim lessons. Even though she was 10 years old, she had never been in the water and was not enthused about it. Evidently parents could not attend the classes so I did not know how she was doing. But, when I could go in, I found Diane just standing in the water shaking like a leaf. I was surprised that she would go the next week, but she did, and after that she was OK with it.
Grades 5 through 8, Diane took piano lessons from Sr. Maris Stella, a teacher at Blessed Sacrament School. She played in the school recitals at the end of each year. Linda and Les also took lessons, so the three of them would play together which was always a hit with the audience. In grade 5, she played in the St. Mary's Music Festival in Leavenworth, Kansas. She received an Honorable Mention rating. Her favorite piece to play was Fur Elise.
Easter 1964, Diane was pretty in her first complete outfit –white hat, purse and shoes, and a black jumper over a white long sleeve blouse. She felt pretty special.
May 31, 1964, Diane graduated from the 8th grade. She was proud to be wearing her blue cap and gown and looked pretty with it on. Throughout her grade school years, she was a good student, never caused any trouble that I can remember, was respected by her teachers and always kept herself looking neat. This was evident when I would see her classmates! One day when Diane came home from school, she told me Sr. Geraldine, the principal, had stopped her in the hall and said, "Diane, how does your Mother keep your hair looking so nice?" It surprised me since I always gave Diane the credit.
Since Diane's hair was naturally curly, it grew very slowly and she kept wishing it would get long. The ends were splitting and needed to be trimmed. I made an appointment for her at the Beauty School in Kansas City, Kansas and asked them to trim the ends. Diane came home and the operator had layered her hair! I was just sick! She had waited so long for it to grow. Diane didn't seem to be upset; she just accepted it as she usually did.
After graduation, Diane started her first job babysitting for Mrs. Goodrich. She made $3.00 a day.
Diane had a teenage party on our patio one evening. We had some neighbors who were not very nice and not invited. Some of her guests drank soft drinks, while some of the guys drank milk. All had a good time with music and dancing. However, when they were leaving, some of them found that beer had been poured in their cars! Evidently, the uninvited ones thought they were getting even.
September 1964 found Diane as a freshman at Bishop Ward High School. The girls wore uniforms that were black jackets and skirts with white shirts. She was a member of the pep club and enjoyed going to the football and basketball games.
In her junior year she was asked by Greg Millert to go to the prom. By her senior year, she was dating Ed Nasalik and went to Homecoming in October and Prom in April with Ed.
May 20, 1968, she graduated from Bishop Ward High School. This time she wore a white cap and gown, and again looked very pretty. Father Raymond Davern was principal and Msgr. Henry Gardner the superintendent.
For Easter of 1968, Ed gave Diane a rabbit which she named Peter. David and Donna took care of him most of the time, going to the grocery store to get scraps of lettuce or pulling clover from the yard for Peter to eat. He kept getting out of the pens they would build for him and kept getting bigger. After a few months, Diane gave him to a family she knew that raised rabbits. Sometime after that, "Peter" had baby rabbits, so she changed her name to "Peteretta"!
Diane worked for some lawyers for a couple of months during the summer of 1968. It gave her some good experience.
In the spring of 1968 we bought an eight-sleeper fold-down camper. For the next several years, the summer holiday weekends would find us camping at one of the area lakes. There would always be a group of us, the largest numbered 35. We had so much fun, sing-a-longs in the evenings, games and playing jokes on each other during the day.
The joke that involved Diane that everyone remembers was when the guys were catching the girls and then would throw them into the lake. Diane didn't want to be caught so she hid in our camper. After staying in there a long time and all was quiet outside, she decided it was safe to go to the restroom, which was an outhouse. She got there ok but some of the guys saw her and went up there quietly with a cooler full of ice water. They threw it into a window on the backside of the outhouse and the water came crashing down on Diane! All the campers around us knew what was going on so were quiet as they watched. Then came this loud "OH SHIT" from Diane!! Everyone just roared with laughter. She came out laughing and we have laughed ever since reminding her of the incident.
Besides our camping trips to the lakes, in 1968 our entire family piled into our station wagon, with our fold-down camper behind, and headed to Florida to see friends and the sights.
In 1969 we all went to Colorado, then on to see Carlsbad Caverns, a day at Six Flags Over Texas and then home.
In 1971 I planned a three-week trip to the northwest. All went except for Les. Diane enjoyed the trips so much that she wanted to go even though she was 21 years old. We enjoyed the area around Lake Louise in Canada, then onto the Ice Fields. We all went for a long ride on the large field of ice. Then we found Vancouver and were amazed when we put our car, camper and the 6 of us on a ferry boat and went across to Vancouver Island. We stayed there over night and returned by ferry the next day. We headed for home, stopping to see the sights along the way. We were gone for 21 days and camped in 20 different places. I'm sure Diane was glad she went but when we went to the northeast in 1972, she decided not to go.
In April 1971, Diane decided she should get her own car. She took her Dad and they went looking. She saw a blue Fiat convertible and even though she did not know anything about a Fiat, or how to drive a stick shift, she thought it was "cute" and bought it. Her Dad drove it home, and then he began teaching her how to drive a stick shift! Shortly after that, Linda was riding with Diane and the Fiat died at the top of a hill. Of course there was a car behind her and after trying a number of times, she finally got it going forward. Linda said Diane kept her cool through it all. Diane loved just driving around in her Fiat with the top down, and would often take one of her siblings with her. Being one of the first small cars in the US, all the Fiat owners would honk and wave as they passed each other.
After high school, Diane applied for a job with the Federal Government. She was offered and accepted a job with the Social Security Administration. She started working for the SSA on October 16, 1968 and had no idea that it would turn into a career job for her. She climbed the ladder quickly and received a promotion nearly every year. She also received several bonuses for her excellent work.
Easter 1970, always making holidays special, Diane and Ed had a lot of fun coloring eggs and making each of us a large Easter basket full of special treats. Wrapped beautifully in colorful cellophane, all of us were thrilled to find our baskets on Easter morning.
Diane's fourth home was at 2202 Franklin, Kansas City, Kansas, where she lived until she married. We had to move from Parallel as the city bought and tore down our home to expand and build Parallel Parkway. The house on Franklin had five bedrooms so the girls each had their own room. Diane decorated her own room. There was no door so she hung strands of colorful beads in the doorway. She had plush, shag carpeting, matching bedspread and curtains. The colors were rust, yellows and greens, the neutral colors in style at the time.
October 16, 1971, we all went to Hawk Point, MO to attend the wedding of Mary Rose Martinek and Charles Brandwein. Diane was asked to be a bridesmaid.
Christmas 1971, Diane gave us a 25" Magnavox console color TV. She said it was in appreciation for her living at home. We gave her "Rags", a large English Sheep Dog stuffed animal, which she kept throughout her life.
June 21, 1972, Diane graduated from Donnelly Junior College in Kansas City, Kansas. Father Raymond Davern was principal. She had been attending evening classes while working during the day. Her siblings were happy when she graduated since they wouldn't have to be quiet in the evening any longer as she studied! Diane insisted on doing her homework at the dining room table and wanted everyone to be quiet so she could concentrate!!
During Christmas week 1972, Diane and Linda nearly froze while waiting in line at the Truman Library to pay their respects to former President Harry S. Truman who was lying in state.
December 25, 1972, Diane and Ed became engaged. He gave her a ring for Christmas.
May 5, 1973, Diane was maid of honor for Karen Connor Kaufman.
Finally, Diane's big day arrived, June 22, 1973, her wedding day. The wedding was set for 7PM at Blessed Sacrament Church, but after several things went wrong it was 10 minutes late in starting. The florist goofed on the flowers and had to go back to the store. Also, two of the tuxedos didn't arrive until shortly before the ceremony. The guys didn't have time to try them on, so there I was at home sewing on buttons and making other alterations when I should have been at the church. After it got started, all went well. To this day, I think it was one of the prettiest weddings I've seen. Diane had planned a nice dinner and dance reception for all those present.
After a honeymoon in Las Vegas, Diane and Ed moved into an apartment at The Meadow's in Shawnee, Kansas.
August 17, 1973, Diane was matron of honor for Charlene Purduski Forck.
At age 25, Diane got her first and only permanent. She had a head full of dark curls, just like an Afro! It made a big difference in her looks but she was still very cute.
In June of 1976, Diane sold her blue Fiat to David. Diane bought another Fiat, this time a white convertible with a black top. It was larger than her blue Fiat, and she named it "Super Fi"!
Diane was determined to finish her college education. In September 1974, she started evening and weekend classes at Rockhurst College.
Diane had a close call with death during the big Plaza flood. As she was driving home from Rockhurst College the evening of September 12, 1977, she had to cross a low place in the street. She had no idea the water was as deep as it was until she could feel that all four tires were off the ground and she was floating. The water was rushing around her and down Brush Creek. She managed to get her car turned around and got back out of the water. She was very scared and felt very lucky. The death toll from that flood was 25. There was 5-6 feet of water in the Plaza area.
In February 1977, David slid on ice and rolled the blue Fiat that Diane had liked so much. It landed on its top and David got out through the back plastic window. Luckily, he was not hurt.
After seven years of evening and weekend classes at Donnelly Junior College and Rockhurst College, and while working full time, Diane graduated with honors from Rockhurst College on Mother's Day, May 14, 1978. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in Industrial Relations. The President at Rockhurst was Fr. Robert F. Weiss, SJ. Needless to say, her father and I were very proud of her accomplishment. Also, that she paid for her entire college education.
Diane wanted a sewing machine as a graduation gift from Dad and I, so that's what we gave her. Even though she didn't sew, she always thought she would! But, it never happened. As far as I know she never used it and eventually sold it on a garage sale!
During this time, she and Ed were having a house built and many decisions had to be made. I remember Diane saying "even down to the door knobs!" But it was finally finished and they moved into their new home on January 11, 1979. Diane enjoyed the decorating and made it beautiful. Being the 70's, one of the bathrooms had silver striped foil wallpaper! She bought and returned at least a dozen different color throw rugs and towels before she found the perfect color of cranberry for the accent color. Knowing her color preferences later in life, it would surprise everyone now that her counter tops were a bright, apple green!! Shortly after they moved in, Diane came home from work to find water everywhere on the floor of the main living area. A nail had been hammered into a pipe during the building process. Since all the carpeting needed to be replaced, Diane took the opportunity to choose a different carpet she liked better!!
On August 27, 1979, Diane and Ed invited the family and Paul's family to see their new home and to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
Agnes baked and decorated a cake, putting a musical decoration of doves on the top, which I still have.
Diane and Ed enjoyed their new home, but there were many issues they did not agree on. They finally decided they would be happier divorced and could go their separate ways. They sold the house and went together to look for apartments. They each found one in The Essex complex. They remained friends though it all.
Diane settled in her new home and started seeing Walt McKenzie, who also worked for Social Security. She met him at a party after work on February 29, 1980. She dated him off and on for a while, and then it became serious!
In January 1987 they bought a house in Lenexa, Kansas. It was a large house with a 3-car garage and driveway. It needed a lot of fixing-up, and Dad and I helped with some of the painting. It was perfect for the two of them. They undertook a huge remodeling project, creating several new rooms from unused attic space, and with the help of good friend Sandy Humo, redecorating every room. Diane patiently "swirled" the new ceilings, which turned out beautiful. One of the new rooms was her "project room", filled with her lifetime of keepsakes and walls of shelving made for all of her wrapping paper and bows. All of their hard work paid off, as it was a true showcase when finished.
In 1987, Diane received a big bonus from Social Security for a rating of "Excellent" for her performance during 1987.
August 27, 1989 was our 40th wedding anniversary. Our children were determined to have a celebration. We wanted to wait until our 50th but they said they would celebrate our 50th also. Diane played a huge part in planning the celebration and seeing that all went as planned. It was a very memorable day with 107 guests present.
Diane lost her Dad on June 3, 1990. He had been having problems since May of 1989, spitting mucus streaked with blood. He kept reporting this to his doctor who finally referred him to another doctor. After six weeks, Dad was sent to a pulmonary specialist who found a large malignant tumor in his left lung. We were told on December 18th, 7 days before Christmas. After an unsuccessful surgery to remove the tumor, he had 30 radiation treatments. The treatments helped a lot and he had two months of feeling pretty good. On May 17, 1990, he was having shortness of breath. Linda and I took him to Humana ER. They admitted him and after 17 days in ICU, he passed away at the age of 66. Except for Pat who had to return to Austin, all of his children, in-laws, and his sister Kay were with him when he passed.
There was one funny incident that happened throughout it all! Diane was at work when she received a call that her Dad was getting worse and may not have much longer to live. While driving to the hospital, she said she was driving the speed limit, but at a stoplight she took off before the light turned green. She was pulled over by an officer and told him her story. He did not give her a ticket but wanted to escort her to the hospital. She thought, great, I'll get there faster! But, he would not go over the speed limit or go through red lights. He led her to the parking lot and watched her go into the hospital. She was a little irritated because the escort slowed her down!
We all missed Dad that Christmas. It was the first Christmas we were not altogether since Diane was born.
In May 1994 we were shocked to learn that Diane had bladder cancer. Surgery was scheduled for May 31st, but it was inoperable. She had chemotherapy the next four months, which her body handled well. Of course Walt was with her every step of the way, even helping her when she lost her hair. On November 14th she had major surgery lasting 11 hours. All went well, tests were good and she recovered completely. She was remarkable during this time. Her courage, grace and positive attitude got her through what no doctor thought possible.
On April 1, 1998, we threw a big 40th birthday party for the twins. Diane again, had a big part in the planning.
September 12, 1998 was another big day, when Donna married Chuck Robinson. As Donna's maid of honor, Diane stepped up again to help in anyway she could. Donna has mentioned several times that Diane and Walt were so wonderful in all they did to help make it a fun and special day.
July 26, 2000, Diane celebrated her 50th birthday. Walt arranged many different surprise parties for her, in addition to the family party.
It was a sad day, September 2, 2001 for Diane and Walt, when their Airedale, Anheuser passed away. He was with them for 13 ½ years.
Then in March 2002, they welcomed another Airedale to their home! A little girl they named Heidi. Diane and Heidi became great pals as Diane slept in the basement with her until she was potty trained!
In May 2004, a long time dream of mine came true! Diane, Walt, Linda and I took a trip to Hawaii for nine days. We had one of the best times of our lives. All enjoyed seeing Maui from one end to the other and even parasailing!!
2005 was the year Diane had been working toward and looking forward to!! Counting down the days throughout the year, on August 3, 2005, Diane retired from the Social Security Administration after a 37-year career with them. Shortly before she retired, she received the Commissioner's Citation which is the highest award given for outstanding service. Linda and Donna gave a surprise party for her at Nick and Jakes, with family, friends and cousins present. We also had a party and dinner for her at Donna and Chuck's honoring her many years of hard work and accomplishments.
2006 was a fun year and one I will never forget! On Saturday, August 19th, Linda and Donna drove me to Oklahoma City where we met Les and Pat. I went home with them on Sunday and spent a week in Austin. Diane and Walt picked me up at Les and Pat's and the three of us headed for Orlando, Florida. Since I was nearly 86 years old and I did need some help, Diane was the perfect one for the job. I appreciated her patience so much. Not once that I knew of did she get upset with me or lose her patience throughout the entire trip. We met Linda and Donna in Orlando and the five of us enjoyed Disney World and Sea World. I thoroughly enjoyed it due to Walt pushing me most of the time in a wheel chair. Linda and Donna flew back home, and Walt, Diane and I continued by auto. They showed me so many things and took me to places I never expected to see. I'm sure they could have gone faster and seen more if I had not been along, but they'll never know how much I appreciated that they took the time and had the patience to take me with them. We celebrated my 86th birthday on the road and arrived home on September 12th.
In 2007, a month after I moved to Grand Court, I fell in Price Chopper hurting my hand and leg so that I needed help around the clock for 3 weeks. Diane took her turn along with Linda and Donna staying with me overnight. She started sleeping on the sofa but changed to sleeping on an air mattress on the bedroom floor so she would be sure to hear me if I needed her during the night. I was thankful for my girls.
On February 29, 2008 Diane and Walt invited all of our family, his family and a few close friends to a party to celebrate the "7th" anniversary of the day they met. All appeared normal, Diane and Walt were wearing casual clothing and we were all ready for a party. Then through tears of joy and disbelief, we watched as they came down the stairs, music playing, dressed for their wedding – after all these years!! They thought they were happy before, but I heard them mention several times that they wished they had gotten married years before, as they were happier than ever.
They had 10 months of wedded bliss before the unexpected happened. Diane was again, diagnosed with cancer which eventually took her life. She left us on Christmas Morning 2008.
Diane was such a generous person. She truly enjoyed finding and giving the perfect gift and was very appreciative of gifts she received. Starting in 1992, she wanted to start collecting 12 place settings of Christmas dishes called Happy Holiday, and wanted them to be from me. Between Christmas's, birthdays and other events, I completed giving her the service for 12 in 2001. Her table was beautiful during the holidays. The total cost was over $1300. Then she wanted me to start on service for 12 of a pattern called Desert Rose for her to use year round. They were not as expensive as the Christmas dishes and I do not recall how many of these I was able to give her.
Diane and Walt helped to make my life very enjoyable by taking me to a lot of fun places. To name a few, a Royals game, a Chiefs game, the Azalea Festival in Muskogee, OK, Starlight Theatre and Theatre in the Park, and the trips to Hawaii and Florida. I enjoyed them all and the two of them were always so much fun to be with.
Diane had many, many friends and was admired by all, which was evident by approximately 700 people who came to the visitation to say good-bye.
Diane loved and enjoyed life. She loved tradition. She loved the summertime, planting flowers, working on her tan, going to Walt's softball games and traveling to out of town tournaments. She loved to shop in all the different towns for herself and gifts for others.
She loved her birthday! Especially the day or weekend birthday trip she took with Walt and friend Sandy every year. Wherever they went it was by way of Collins, Missouri so they could eat at her favorite place, Peggy's.
She was a lover of hamburgers! But, quite often her burger would come with cheese on it (which she hated!). So she started ordering a cheeseburger with NO cheese. We always laughed about this. She always ate the cheese on pizza, but no other way. She loved all of her snacks including cookies, candy, and sweets in general!!
Diane loved Christmas! Decorating the entire house with (at last count) 13 trees, baking tons of cookies, candies and her Chex Mix for friends and family, and always many, many gifts for everyone. Diane and Walt's New Year's Day dinner was a big part of her holiday season and a wonderful, fun tradition. With a great meal, drinks, a quiz from Walt, and surprise guests every year, it was always a great time.
Diane will always be remembered as someone with a ready smile and a willing hand. She was a fun loving person always ready for a party and a good time, especially after she retired.
She will always be missed, always be loved, but never forgotten.
Social Security Death Index
Name: Diane M. McKenzie
Born: 26 Jul 1950
Died: 25 Dec 2008
State (Year) SSN issued: Kansas (1966-1967)
Lawrence Joseph Wittman (1924 - 1990)
Resurrection Catholic Cemetery
Maintained by: Tom Nelson
Originally Created by: HSH
Record added: Dec 27, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 32432664
Anheuser and Heidi
Added: Jul. 7, 2011
Dear Walt, We are so sorry to hear about our loss yesterday. Our many dinners together, sharing a laugh, a cold beer, and good times with the cool dinner friends shows we truly live the American Dream. You and Di are a special part of our lives and we wil...(Read more)|
Bud and Jo Hastings
Added: Jul. 7, 2011
Walt, Bud called us and we're so sorry to hear this news. We will be at Di's visitation Sunday to see you (as well as Eric and Kent)and express our condolences to you in person but wanted to drop you a note immediately. Di was such a special person. I kno...(Read more)|
Ann and Mike Ditty
Added: Jul. 7, 2011
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