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Diane was born during the height of World War II in Leeds, England on September 12, 1943 to Gladys (Peat) Atkinson and Horace Atkinson. Diane's mother, Gladys, opened a grocery store named G. Atkinson during the war. Diane would recall found memories of helping her mother work here as a child. While her father Horace served in engineering the fake docks the Allies used during the Invasion of Normandy.
Diane was called home to Jesus on March 25, 2023. She passed peacefully next to her beloved John Curtis in Eau Claire, WI.
Diane excelled in school and went to Allerton High in Leeds. There she learned French and German and received 11 A's in her O levels and 8 A's in her A levels. Outside of her scholastic accomplishments Diane enjoyed playing field hockey, basketball, and tap dance. She and her brother Gerry enjoyed visiting their grandmother's during the summers caravan on the North Sea. Diane went to the North of England Higher Secretarial College where she won the Nationally Accredit Pittman Award.
In 1963 Diane met the love of her life John Curtis. John was serving abroad with the United States Army. They had met at a dance, and after conversing late into the night he had missed his train and the rest is history. John and Diane were married February 5, 1964, at the beautiful Saint Matthew's Church in Leeds England. When John was released from Active duty they moved to his home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Diane's quickly became involved with Johns family church, Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire. She joined the alter guild and was a passionate member of the choir for over 50 years. John and Diane welcomed their first daughter in 1966, Jane Elizabeth Curtis. In 1969 they had their second daughter, Sarah Ann Curtis. Diane had filed for American citizenship and was finally made a naturalized American citizen on May 4, 1973. Diane was so proud to be an American citizen and would often brag to her family members, "you were born as an American citizen, but I chose to be one". As a dual-citizen, Diane was still proud of her English heritage, and loved the family she left behind. She would visit as often as possible (Diane would last visit England in 2005). In the latter part of the 70's Diane went to the Chippewa Falls Technical College where she received an associate degree for accounting. Diane enjoyed going hunting and fishing with her family. She was an ace trap shooter for the Rod and Gun Club, a member of service league, and a member and one time president of P.E.O. Perhaps her greatest passion was working with children in Sunday School, helping them build a relationship with Jesus. After the passing of Johns parents, they ran ABC Rentals (Apartments By Curtis) together.
John and Diane welcomed two grandchildren into the world, Warren Stevens 1987, and Elizabeth Stevens 1989. Diane was a gifted seamstress and would make a wide array of items for her family, such as blankets, Halloween costumes, costumes for theatrical productions, teddy bears, and she even made all the dresses for her daughter, Jane's, wedding. Diane doted on her grandchildren and loved spending time with them. Diane shared her passion for singing with her grandson and they sang in the choir together when he was young. Diane loved reading and despite Elizabeth suffering from dyslexia she spent many hours helping her learn to read. They also enjoyed sewing, baking tasty treats, and studying French. Warren would go on to live with John and Diane, becoming the son they never had. When her great grandchildren were born in the 2010's Diane often babysat them. Taking them to the park to play and having sleep overs ranked high on her favorite activities. John and Diane ran their business ABC Rentals together until 2019. She was incredibly hardworking and had a passion for historic preservation. By the time they had retired both Diane and John had received numerous awards from the Randall Park Neighborhood, Apartment Association, the Landmarks Committee, and the Historic Preservation Society. She befriended many of her children's and grandchildren's friends as she employed many of them over the summers in middle school and high school. Her tenants over the years were also very fond of her and would often volunteer their time, just to spend time conversing with her. After taking on a lesser role in ABC Rentals, she would spend most of her time caring for her husband John's medical needs and spending time with family. Until the end of her days her family members would say she was a fierce mother, with so much love, kindness, compassion, and could make one heck of a grilled cheese. Her light shined so brightly, her love is irreplaceable, and she will be dearly missed.
Diane is survived by her husband John Curtis of Eau Claire, WI, her two daughters Jane Elizabeth Stevens (Curtis), and Sarah Ann Curtis (Christopher Fraser), two grandchildren, Warren Stevens (Kerri Weeks), Elizabeth (Dustin) Ruxton, great grandchildren Declan, Joslyn, Lucille, Aidan, and Lorence, sister-in-law Angela Mary Atkinson, and one niece Katherine Riel.
Diane is proceeded in death by her parents Horace and Gladys Atkinson, her brother Gerald Atkinson, and great grandson Desmond Ruxton.
The Family asks in lieu of flowers please send donations to Christ Church Cathedral Music Program.
A Requiem Eucharist will be held at 1pm on Friday, April 14, 2023, at Christ Church Cathedral, 510 S. Farwell Street, Eau Claire, WI with Father Aaron Zook and Reverend Kenneth Van Es officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will be in Christ Church Cathedral Columbarium. Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral & Cremation Services is serving her family.
To express online condolences, please visit www.lenmarkfh.com