Diane Sylvia McCann passed on February 14, 2021 from osteosarcoma. She was surrounded in her last weeks at home by her husband (John McCann), her children, Lisa Poncelet, Michele Plorde and Joshua Plorde (Desiree), stepchildren Richard McCann, (Anya), Carol DeSilva (James), and Barbara McCann, and several grandchildren.
Diane was born in St. Peter, Minnesota on August 20, 1934. She was raised in Fairmont, Minnesota by her parents, Alma and Norbert Koenigs, alongside her four brothers and sister: Jerry (deceased), Lois (deceased), Donald, Paul and Noel. A generous gift from her Uncle Otto prompted Diane to attend Arizona State University, where she graduated in 1956 with a degree in education and taught in schools in Minnesota. Diane married Melvin Marr in 1959; daughters Lisa and Michele arrived in 1961 and 1963. Melvin died unexpectedly in late 1963.
In 1965, Diane and her second husband, James Plorde, joined the newly established Peace Corps, becoming the first volunteer family to be sent abroad. They served for 2 years in Gondar, Ethiopia. Shortly after their return to Seattle, Diane bore a son, Joshua, in 1967. In 1969, the family returned to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa; moving back to Seattle in 1971. Her marriage ended in divorce in 1975.
In 1974, Diane was awarded a Kellogg Health Education Fellowship from the Office of Research in Medical Education, University of Washington, which led to a Master in Public Health Education in 1977. She became an expert in adult learning theories and strategies to enhance the doctor-patient relationship.
Diane met Dr. John McCann in February 1979, and had their first date 2 days later on Valentine’s Day. Diane and John married in 1983. They recognized they both were at professional crossroads and moved to Fresno, California for jobs with the Valley Medical Center, UCSF. Diane earned a Doctorate in Education in 1988 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1988. Diane ended her professional career in Sacramento as the Academic Coordinator for Clinical Instruction, University of California School of Medicine.
Diane and John retired in the Pacific Northwest in 2002. Together, they undertook a masterful whole-house remodeling project on Bainbridge Island. Diane participated in book and walking clubs, started and cultivated a domestic garden, took up painting and continued her passion for cuisine, cooking for friends, family and grandchildren. She knit beautifully; her sweaters were simply the best. In her final days, she gifted her own scarves, sweaters and handmade items to her children, stepchildren and in-laws, directing specific pieces to match the preferences and sizes of their recipients. It was beautiful to watch and brought tears to our eyes. Tears of loss and sadness. Happy tears too, for sharing her beautiful self with those she loved.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the League of Women Voters and Doctors Without Borders. Please post tributes to the Seattle Times obituary page. Diane’s cremains will be interred at Port Blakely Cemetery on Bainbridge Island in a private ceremony. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.