OBITUARY

Diana Marie Stephenson

January 18, 1957February 21, 2011

Arrangements under the direction of Kraeer-Fairchild Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, February 24, 2011
  • Funeral Mass Friday, February 25, 2011
REMEMBERING

Diana Marie Stephenson

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Melissa Stephenson

June 3, 2011

I love you so much Mommy, I wish you were here. I think about you every single day and that won't change. I miss your shining face so much I can't even explain. I know you're looking down on me and for the I'm very grateful. I love you.

Linda Kowalczyk

April 23, 2011

Isaiah 43:1-4
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you...!
That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!"

Diana - your first Easter in Heaven - Such a glorious celebration to behold...
I love you and miss you!

April 12, 2011

I have felt blessed to have known Diana. She was a true gift from God that showed us all how to be loving, kind, and giving.I will miss her warm smile and inspirational words. I have always admired her wonderful relationship with Mark and Melissa. Her family meant the world to her and she lived her life to make everyone happy.I know that beautiful bright light, Diana, will always shine in our hearts. I wish you peace and eternity with your Lord and Savior. We love you!
Pamela Malinchak and family

Linda Kowalczyk

March 17, 2011

Reflections on Diana as spoken at her Funeral Mass on 02- 25-2011 -
Diana is loving this; so many of her beloved and favorite people together at one time in the same place. In her humility though, she would blush at the thought that we have all gathered for the purpose of honoring her.
We have come together today to celebrate the life of Diana Stephenson, devoted, loving wife to Mark, and loving mother to Melissa, loving sister to Jackie, Bobbi, and Betty, sister-in-law to Mark’s twin brother Peter, Diane, his wife, Mark’s sister Janice, and beloved aunt to all the nieces and nephews.
Most of us here today know Diana as a precious, loving, loyal friend. I first met Diana at Pine Crest School as we were the on the same team serving seconds to the pre-primary and lower school students during lunch duty. Diana was ever so conscious about serving a nutritious lunch and the children called her the salad mom, as her specialty was preparing and serving salad. Diana regarded Pine Crest School as her, “home away from home,” and over the last 14 years she devoted most of her time as a volunteer there to ensure that Melissa and all the students were encouraged to do their best. We often worked together making costumes for the children’s performances. I remember one time a group of moms were making costumes in the cafeteria and we didn’t have enough scissors for all of us. Diana, living the closest, ran home and came back with several sets, all different sizes and types. We laughed when she pulled out a pair she called her chicken scissors, they were the ones she used to cut chickens. Diana always gave so completely of herself, her time, her talent, her love, as well as her possessions. Diana wore many hats at Pine Crest. I’m sure that it was her love of scary movies that led her to work on the haunted house each Halloween. Each year it became spookier and more thrilling for the students than it had been the year before. She took on the job as chairman of the then dreaded used uniform closet. She had her work cut out for her when she tackled this task… Her perseverance and organizational skills changed the closet into a viable, accessible place where parents and students purchased uniforms at greatly reduced prices. The system she established nine years ago is still in place today.
Diana believed that every child was special and she celebrated each child’s uniqueness, background, and faith. She organized and volunteered at both Hanukkah and Christmas parties. Diana served on the Development Annual Fund committee where she was involved in many fundraising endeavors, the auction committee, and she was a two term Founder’s Council member and held the office of secretary. She was an active member and officer of the mother’s club. Diana was a coordinator for Moms in Touch, a group consisting of Pine Crest mothers who meet weekly to pray for the children and school community. She devoted countless hours to organizing the sale of ballet tickets; not stopping even while she was wearing a chemotherapy pump. I could go on and on about her countless contributions. Diana cared deeply about our children and all children. The Russian orphans were especially near and dear to her heart and she did all she could to help and support them.
My friendship with Diana continued outside of school. I had the privilege of spending hours on end talking and sharing with her about our hopes and dreams for our children. Melissa was truly the light and joy of her life. Whenever Melissa’s name was mentioned a big smile would cross her face. Towards the end of her life when she was in and out of consciousness she smiled and rallied when Melissa spoke to her, or when Melissa’s name was mentioned even in the far corner of the room. Diana felt that it was important for Melissa to pursue her dream to study dance. She was so very proud of Melissa’s enthusiasm, dedication, and accomplishments as a dancer, and especially in the fine young woman she watched her daughter become.
When Diana was 17 years old she met the love of her life and soul mate, Mark. Following her last surgery a few weeks ago she told me that the reason she was still alive was because of the love and faith of her husband. Mark was at her side throughout her illness. He was a consistent, loving, and supportive presence for Diana. She relied on his strength and drew courage from it… A few times I heard Diana say when Mark had to leave her bedside for a short time, “Oh no, whenever he leaves the pain comes back.”
Although Diana was an extremely intelligent, accomplished woman who held a degree in engineering and managed a pharmaceutical chemical plant in her 20’s and 30’s, she downplayed her achievements. She often said that her most rewarding and important job and privilege in life was her role as mother to Melissa. Diana was one of the most humble, most down to earth, caring and compassionate women I have ever known. She was strong in her love for her family and for God. We shared many conversations about faith and Diana was deeply rooted, and devout. She saw her everyday life as a complement to her faith journey. Diana saw the good in everyone she met and she had a talent for bringing that good out. Her humility, her gentle goodness, her caring, compassionate disposition, and her positive attitude attracted everyone. And we became better people because of her...Her friends came from all walks of life and she cared about them, as she did for each one of us, and we felt her love...
Diana believed that she developed cancer for a reason, and she strived to use her circumstances to help others, and that she did... A few months ago Diana contacted a woman in NY who she had never met but who was anxious and alone, was recently diagnosed with the same rare type of cancer that Diana had, and the woman was about to undergo her first session of chemotherapy. This woman, a stranger to both Diana and me, was the friend of one of my co-workers. Though a stranger, Diana offered to call her. She spoke to her for 2 hours the night before her first chemo session, answering her questions, allaying her fears and anxieties, and giving her tips on questions to ask her oncologist. Diana called her again following the chemo session. The woman was overcome with gratitude and later told me that she never knew anyone as caring and loving as Diana had been to her, a total stranger. We can all relate…… Diana inspired us all... She truly believed that having cancer made her a better person because thru her illness she developed a stronger relationship with the Lord, and a better understanding of what is truly important in life. She knew who she was as a wife, mother, friend, and precious child of God, and she knew where she was going when she left this world. And she was not afraid...
Diana and I shared many wonderful times together. I would like to share with you a conversation we had two weeks ago. She said that thru her illness she had come to the realization that the true mark of success in one’s life wasn’t degrees, titles, or prestige, but rather it is how much one has loved. At the end of our conversation she said, “Let’s never forget this time.” And I never will...
Diana inspired me in life by how she lived and she continues to inspire me in her death.
I can honestly say that Diana has changed my life forever...She taught me that it is not the number of years one is alive that matters but it is how one uses their time here to love and relate to others. I will never forget Diana and the important lessons she taught me.
Diana, I love you. I miss you. You have graced my life more than you will ever know... I know that you are at peace with the Lord.
Well done, Diana, well done! God Bless until we meet again...
With Love,
Linda Kowalczyk

February 26, 2011

I am one of the fortunate people that
had the opportunity to know a beautiful gift to our world named Diana Stephenson. Diana was a gift to all of us who knew her. I am happy that I knew Diana and I am sad that she is gone. Her beauty and love will live on in her lovely daughter Melissa. Melissa, yes, your Mommy loved you so much. She always wanted the best for you. You will continue to make her proud. Your beautiful smile and your kind heart will always add much joy to the lives you touch. May God bless you and your Daddy always.
With love,
Diane Abers and Family

Maureen Meller

February 25, 2011

My thoughts and prayers are with the Stephenson family at this time. I worked with Diana on the Pine Crest Mothers' Club Board for a few years. I always admired her beautiful smile and positive energy. Although I have never met Mark or Melissa, Diana talked about them all the time. Her love and devotion to them was always apparent. Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. May you feel her love and presence in all your days ahead.

Michele Northgrave

February 25, 2011

Dear Mark & Melissa,
I am so sorry for your loss. Although I never met Diana, I heard so many wonderful things about her.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jo-Ann Tabry

February 25, 2011

Diana was a special friend, more like a little sister. There were so many things I admired in her. Most of all her selflessness. She was always worried for others while never concerned for herself. I will miss those impromtu visits when she would stop by and say " I can't stay I'm on my way to Publix" I would say just come in for a few minutes and we would talk for 2 hours! Then she would say" I better get going, Mark will wonder where I am. I was just going to get something for dinner." I will treasure the memories of the times we shared, the simple conversations about our families, our faith and in the recent years Diana's illness. God rest your soul Diana. I will really miss you!

Dan & Erin Foley

February 25, 2011

You are in our thoughts.

Sandy Safford

February 24, 2011

There are no words to describe the feeling of loss that I have right now. I remember what an encourager she was; that contagious laugh she had; the sweetness in her voice and the tremendous love she had for Mark and Melissa. I'm going to miss her terribly.