Dianne Colleen McKellips Lange, 61, of Idaho Falls, passed away Friday, April 19, 2013, at her home of breast cancer. She was under the care of her family and Hospice of Eastern Idaho.
Dianne was born May 30, 1951, in Spokane, Washington, to Dwaine Junior McKellips and Genevieve Colleen Schoenberg McKellips. She grew up and attended schools in Kent, Washington. She had remarkable big brown eyes, a contagious laugh and an adventurous spirit. Throughout her high school years, she was a "wild thing," surrounded by a close-knit group of friends. Dianne's beautiful, thick hair was so appreciated by a hairdresser that she became a hair model, winning the hairdresser numerous awards.
She attended Highland Junior College, followed by two years at the University of Washington. There, she blended study with a blossoming love for the outdoors, hiking in the Olympics and downhill and cross-country skiing in the Cascades. When Dianne decided to become a special education teacher, she transferred to Central Washington State College. She became active in the Council for Exceptional Children and the Special Olympics.
After graduating in 1974, she accepted a job in Idaho Falls, where she caught the eye of Kermit Henry Lange, the love of her life. On June 6, 1976, she and Kermit were married in Idaho Falls. She and Kermit continued to enjoy the outdoors with summer backpacking trips, and when Dianne introduced him to camping in the snow, they extended their adventures into the winter.
Dianne continued to be a "wild thing," turning her energy toward becoming a very talented educator, wonderful wife and amazing mother to their three incredible children, Sarah (33) and the twins -- T-N-T -- Tony and Tyler (30). She is also survived by her stepson, Jason (43), his wife, Ginger, and their three children; two brothers, Terry McKellips and Greg McKellips; and two sisters, Cindi Conner and Heidi Crepeau.
She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister who died as a child, Christi McKellips.
Dianne was a dedicated teacher, usually working 9-hour days and at least one day of each weekend. After numerous years in the special education field, Dianne decided to become a third grade teacher. The skills Dianne acquired as a special education teacher greatly enriched the learning environment in her classroom as she identified and addressed each child's unique needs.
Dianne was an active member of the Idaho Falls Education Association. Nominated as "IFEA Member of the Year," she earned this by being the Regional Coordinator working to pass Prop 1, the effort to maintain a stable funding base for education in Idaho.
As the family's tent camping turned into trailer camping, Dianne became an excellent Dutch-oven cook. She created delicious meals that were enjoyed at the end of our great hikes ... so great! Dianne continued to have her groups of close friends. Her time with her friends was always very important -- she was a social girl. Her scrapbooking group supported her in creating a beautiful visual family history that was still in the process when she passed. She learned the art of making cards and delighted all with special cards for holidays and special events. She always loved to garden. We will all miss this special lady.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Idaho Brewing Company, 775 S. Capital Ave., on the corner of Trask Street and Capital Avenue.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.