• "We are a large Italian family and I will always be saddened..."
    - Filomena Palmer
  • "Diane was one of the most beautiful girls in our class of..."
    - Jan Summers (nee Malseed)
  • "My heart was broken by Diane's passing. She was all of the..."
    - Sandy Meredith
  • "Diane truly shined as a woman and a friend. We will miss..."
  • "I have loved Diane and Lynn like sisters for many years in..."
    - Kathy Stelle


DIANE (Di Silvestre) HARPER  

Pioneer Woman Lobbyist  
A member of a pioneer band of women who became prominent Capitol Hill lobbyists for major United States defense firms in the 1980's, died in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, from complications following a long battle with cancer. She was 67.
Ms. Harper, formerly of Arlington, VA, joined the Washington office of Grumman Aerospace, now Northrop Grumman, as a congressional lobbyist after working 10 years as a staff assistant on the House Armed Services research and development subcommittee. It was at an unprecedented time when women, hired by major defense firms to promote their programs in annual defense bills, infiltrated a profession heretofore dominated by retired male military officers.
Over a period of 23 years, Ms Harper rose through the ranks of Northrop Grumman's Washington office to become Vice President of Congressional Relations. She began her career as a secretary for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1967, eventually becoming the director's executive secretary and following him when he became the Army Director of Land Warfare in the Pentagon. She later joined the House Armed Services Committee staff in 1979.
Ms. Harper worked one year outside government for the Capitol Center Organization, the owner of Washington's professional basketball team, then named the Bullets, and it was the year that the team won its only national championship.
Following her retirement from Northrop Grumman in 2011, Ms. Harper and her husband Michael Harper relocated to Jacksonville. Ms. Harper is survived by her partner and husband of 30 years, Michael; sister, Lynn Marie Di Silvestre of Gambrills, Maryland; and extended family.
A private celebration of life for family and friends.

Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 24, 2017
Arrangements under the direction of:
Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Home
7242 Normandy Blvd | Jacksonville, FL 32205 | (904) 781-9262
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