Diane Zucker

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Diane Zucker Diane passed away suddenly from complications related to cancer surgery in San Francisco on October 28th. Diane was such a strong and vibrant presence-she had been camping and hiking in the Sierras just a week before her surgery-that it is hard to believe that she is no longer with us. Diane along with husband, Ken Anderson, who passed away in 2009 dedicated a significant part of their lives to helping others in their local community and will long be remembered as an inspiration to all who knew them. Diane was well known for her ability to befriend folks from all walks of life, her fierce love and devotion to her family, her fondness for dancing and a good party, her quick wit, her love of gardening, her keen interest in politics and the democratic process, and her talent for collaborative community organizing. Diane was born on June 7, 1943 in Brooklyn, N.Y. to left wing activists, Louis and Edna Zucker. Along with sister Madeline (deceased 2009), the family moved to California in 1945, crossing the border on Diane's second birthday. They settled in Long Beach where their father had been transferred to work in the Naval Shipyard. Brothers David and Michael were later born and all the children eventually graduated from nearby Millikan High School-Diane in 1961. The family thrived on the West Coast and their life-long love of nature was born during many summers camped in the state parks near San Clemente. Diane went on to college at Cal State University at Long Beach. In 1964, Diane and Madeline drove across country and worked at the New York World's Fair. Diane transferred to UCLA and graduated in 1965. Eventually, the sisters moved together to San Francisco and Diane worked as a social worker with Jewish Family Services. In the later 1960's she moved to Venice and became immersed in the music and art scene in Los Angeles. On March 2, 1971, Diane's son, Adam was born. Wanting a more peaceful place to raise her child, she first moved to Caspar, then to Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast in1974 where she supported herself and her child as a waitress. Daughter, Lilianne was born in 1980. Diane met Ken Anderson in 1988 and they were married on December 21, 1991. The new family moved to the hills outside of Willits where they lived until 1999, relocating to Ukiah's historic Wagenseller neighborhood. For several years, Diane taught at the Ukiah Adult School where she was appreciated as a dedicated and inspiring instructor and an active member of the Ukiah Teachers' Association until her retirement in 2007. Diane began her first tenure as a trustee on the Mendocino County Board of Education starting in 1986 and was later re-elected for two more terms beginning in 2005. There, she was an outspoken advocate for educational opportunities for at-risk and disenfranchised youth. In support of her daughter, Diane immersed herself in the movement for improved services, dignity and self-sufficiency for those living with mental health challenges for families like Diane and Lili's. She had been the co-chair and was currently serving as vice-chair of the Mendocino chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). She was also currently a board member of Manzanita Services, Inc., a peer support wellness and recovery non-profit for those living with mental health challenges. In addition, Diane was currently a board member of The Ford Street Project which provides shelter, housing, substance abuse treatment and employment services to the homeless, addicted and disabled of Mendocino County. Diane was also the heart and soul of the Wagenseller Neighborhood Association for which she worked tirelessly to stop rampant development and improve quality of life in her charming and eclectic neighborhood she referred to as an "endangered species". A frequent presence at City Council and Planning Commission meetings, Diane passionately and eloquently spoke on behalf of the survival of the neighborhood. Her fondest wish which she shared with Ken Anderson was for the neighborhood to finally get a desperately needed park or recreational area. Diane leaves behind her children Adam and Lili, brothers David and Michael and their families, brother-in-law, Michael Kauffman and his family, four aunts and an uncle, members of the Anderson family, many close cousins, her fellow traveler, Peter Lowe and a multitude of friends, neighbors, colleagues and admirers. Donations in Diane's name may be made to: Manzanita Services' Educational Fund (P.O. Box 1424, Ukiah, CA 95482) in support of the educational and wellness goals of peer staff and clients; or the Wagenseller Neighborhood Association earmarked for the establishment of a long overdue neighborhood park, c/o 307 Clara Avenue, Ukiah, CA 95482. A celebration of Diane's life including a circle of sharing, potluck meal, music and dancing to Will Siegel and Friends, will be held on Sunday, December 8 from 12-2:30 p.m., at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse, 107 S. Oak St. Ukiah. Manzanita Services will host a post-celebration, "Diane's Dance Party" in the Social Hall of the Ukiah United Methodist Church, 270 N. Pine St., from 2:30-5:30p.m.
Published in Ukiah Daily Journal on Nov. 17, 2013
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