Diana L. Altman

August 27, 1934December 11, 2013
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Diana Lynn Altman, 79, of Laurinburg, NC, died December 11, 2013 of complications resulting from multiple strokes. She is survived by her daughter, Lydian and her two daughters, Brooke and Christine; and her son Reed and his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Sebastian and Marisol. Diana’s career in international development public health took her to nearly half the countries in the world, and most recently she had homes in Chapel Hill and Laurinburg, NC. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the Scotland County chapters of Habitat for Humanity, Literacy Council, or Planned Parenthood. Online condolences may be made and further information about a service at Scotland Place in Laurinburg, Thursday, December 19, 2013 from 2-4 pm may be found at: The obituary will be updated as soon as possible, so please check back. In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to; -Habitat for Humanity of Scotland County 12340 McColl Rd. Laurinburg, NC 28352 -Scotland County Literacy Council 213 McLaurin Ave. Laurinburg NC 28352 -Planned Parenthood 1765 Dobbins Dr. P.O. Box 3258 Chapel Hill NC 27514

Lydian wrote this a few hours before her mom died last Wednesday:

Some of you may be aware yet others are not, that my mother, Diana Altman, has been dealing with some health issues in the last month or so. It started as double vision and dizziness that grew progressively worse (but intermittent) in late October. Initially, she was referred to a vascular surgeon for a blockage in a chest artery.

We were busy getting pre-op tests taken care in the days before Thanksgiving. She was still dizzy and was having trouble managing day to day tasks. Thanksgiving day, however, she was able to get dressed and join the entire family in some of the dinner preparations. Tradition dictates that she make the gravy and carve the bird. This year my brother, Reed, did the carving and mom supervised my oldest daughter, Brooke, in gravy-making. We all were able to join at the table for a fellowship and merriment.

That evening mom returned to Raleigh to spend a few days with Reed and his Family. Friday morning she woke up and could not move her legs. She was transported by ambulance to Duke Raleigh Hospital, about 2 miles from Reed's house. We have been here ever since.

Initially, the diagnosis showed she has had a series of mini strokes. A cerebral angiogram indicated complete blockage of the rear two (of four) arteries leading to the brain. Incredibly, and somewhat mysteriously, the front two are relatively clear. We expected to release her to acute rehab on December 6, a week after admittance.

The evening of December 5th, mom suffered another stoke in the brain stem, which controls major bodily functions like swallowing and breathing. Despite an initial rally, it became increasingly clear she could not go to rehab since she could not pass the assessment tests. Even if she was able to regain some of these functions, she would be living under the threat of additional strokes given the blockages and recent experiences. Reed and I reached a difficult and necessary fork in the road decision.

Mom is still here in hospital but under palliative care until she passes. No more poking, prodding, sticking, or beeping. This is hard, but the right thing to do. Thankfully, my girls and brother have been here and very supportive. Yesterday morning they sang her carols and favorite Beatles tunes. :-). This morning she is resting peacefully and taking very shallow breaths.

I am grateful to all of you for the words of comfort you have offered. No doubt we will need more of that as we navigate days ahead.



  • Memorial Service Thursday, December 19, 2013
  • Memorial Service Monday, January 6, 2014

Diana L. Altman

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March 31, 2015

I am so sorry to hear about Diana. I wondered why my
Christmas card was returned and only now searched for a
new address. Loved her visit to me in Utah and being a
fellow classmate in the Public Health School at Chapel Hill.
My condolences to her family. She will be missed.
Best to you, Anne Macey (Teasdale, Utah)

Elaine Kelly

July 1, 2014

Dear Lydian, Reed, and children. I did not learn of my cousin Diana passing on until recently from my cousin George. I am sure she is in a better place. I never had the opportunity to know her.

Jan Allen

January 5, 2014

Lydian and Reed - I am so sorry for your loss. I've been friends with Diana for such a long time. My many memories go back to our feminist NOW activism trying to pass the ERA. This has been such a difficult time for you. Thank you so much for sharing. My sincere condolences to all of you.
Jan Allen

Verla Insko

December 25, 2013

Lydian, I am so sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences to you and Reed and your families. Diana was a wonderfully strong woman who made a difference in the world. She was a role model for me and for many others during her Chapel Hill days. I'm grateful to have known her.

Bobbie Robertson

December 20, 2013

I am sorry for your loss. I worked closely with Diana at Scotland County Literacy Council for many years. She was very dedicated to helping the Literacy Council provide services to those in the community. I have witnessed her generosity of time and resources to help serve others. Every time that I spoke with her, I learned something new. She always talked about her children and grandchildren. She was very proud of you all and loved to spend time with you. Keep those precious memories close to your hearts forever.

December 19, 2013

My deepest sympathies to Diana's family. Please draw comfort from James 4:8 which shows if you draw close to God He will draw close to you.

Carolyn Beranek

December 18, 2013

So sorry to hear of Diana's death. She was one active, inspiring lady!

Mary Nations

December 18, 2013

I am really sorry for your loss. Diana leaves a beautiful legacy in her fine family and good works. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

Lynn and Bruce Richards

December 17, 2013

Aunt Diana was such a remarkable woman in so very many ways. We will miss her sense of adventure, humor, kindness and love of family. We are thinking of her children and grandchildren (our cousins) at this very hard time--we know how very much they will miss her. We will too. With great sadness,

Jan Hester Maynor

December 16, 2013

I became acquainted with Ms. Altman through her service to our Region's seniors on the Region N Aging Advisory Board and in her role as an alternate to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature. She was a valuable asset to these boards and her understanding and willingness to take up difficult issues will be greatly missed. Lydian, I did not realize this was your Mom until last week. I should have recognized the wonderful similarities much sooner. My thoughts are with you and your family.