Diana Ruth Hillard, long-time Fairbanks resident and loving mother and wife, passed away peacefully in her sleep on April 29, 2012 in Dayton, Ohio.
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Always the dutiful Army wife, she followed her husband David F. Hillard (d. Sept. 14, 2011) on their final tour of duty.
Diana was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on Aug. 18, 1945, to Walter A. Schinz and Ruth A. Moher.
Growing up in Milwaukee and Lake Tomahawk, Wis., she was popular and beautiful, an excellent student and salutatorian of Lakeland Union High School.
She matriculated at Ripon College in 1964, where she met her husband, Dave, and eventually completed a bachelor's degree in history. As the wife of a career serviceman, she lived in Germany, Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Campbell, Tenn., and Fort Lewis, Wash., before settling in Alaska in 1982.
Diana loved Alaska and her log house. She was a magnificent gardener, turning the front yard into an explosion of blooms every summer. She kept a lovely house and enjoyed needlepoint and crafts and decorated the house beautifully every Christmas. She was a very cultured woman, contributing to the arts and public radio in Fairbanks and instilling in her children a love of literature, art and history.
She pursued a degree in Russian language at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and hosted Russian émigrés in Fairbanks after the fall of the iron curtain. She loved animals and the house was always full of pets, children and friends, where, if you were lucky, you would get a taste of her excellent pot roast or chili.
We will never forget her loving heart, kindness and the joy she brought to all she touched.
Diana left Alaska to be closer to her family in 2011. She was laid to rest in the Dayton National Cemetery on May 3, 2012, with her husband.
She is survived by her children, Elizabeth A. Hillard of Bordeaux, France, Caroline S. Hillard of Dayton, Ohio, and David R. Hillard of Oakland, Calif.; her sisters, Barbara E. Jacobs and Cynthia Dietz, and brother, James P. Dietz, all of Milwaukee, Wis.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Published in Daily News-Miner from May 9 to May 12, 2012