Aug. 25, 1932 - Feb. 19, 2021
BRANDON, Florida - Diane Smith, 88, of Brandon, Florida, passed peacefully into the loving arms of God on Friday, February 19, 2021, under the care of Lifepath Hospice.
Born in Sullivan, IN, to the late Earl and Edna Cox, Diane spent her youth and early adult years in Princeton, IN, and was an active member in her church and school activities. She loved to play baseball and tennis, camping and any manner of water sports, eventually learning how to water ski on just one ski. Diane was a faithful fan of Indiana basketball and a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan.
In 1964, she married John Smith and together they moved the family to Mt. Carmel, IL and then settled in Mattoon, IL for the next 36 years.
Diane was employed by Mattoon Community School District Two for 18 years in the Purchasing Department. After retirement, Diane and John enjoyed winters in Florida and upon John's passing in 2001, Diane decided to move permanently to The Villages, FL, where she remained active for many years.
She looked forward to spending time with all the snowbirds who would travel to Florida during the winter months, and enjoyed playing cards, going on a cruise, and keeping up with the gang in the Mattoon/Charleston area. Diane was an avid golfer and reveled in the year-round sunshine and foursomes with friends. She was an active member in Northlake Presbyterian Church, and enjoyed the Women's Bible Studies, Retreats, and Small Group Fellowship groups at Northlake. Diane volunteered weekly at The Villages Hospital for many years and was recognized for her devotion and hours of service to others.
In September of 2019, Diane sold her home and moved to Brandon, FL to be closer to her family, and she resided at Tessera of Brandon until her death. Again, Diane found "friends who became family along the way" and enjoyed her independent living surroundings. Sadly, the pandemic was unleashed upon the world, and the lockdowns and quarantines became a challenge to navigate. Even amid chaos and uncertainty, Diane was able to celebrate her 88th birthday with her daughters through a plate glass window, and it was a day full of wonderful memories.
Diane leaves behind three daughters: Linda (Bud) Grafton, of Valrico, FL, Brenda (Rob) Wilkinson, of Sycamore, IL, and Jennifer Smith, of Miami Beach, FL. Also surviving are seven grandchildren: Adam Grafton, of Dunwoody, GA, Mitchell (Rachel) Grafton, of Valrico, FL, Kathryn Grafton, of Valrico, FL, Lucas Wilkinson of Lincoln, NE, Zachary Wilkinson, of Sycamore, IL, Kirsten Riser, of Pembroke MA, Courtney Riser, of Pembroke, MA, and four great-grandchildren.
Services will be held in Mattoon, IL at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Seeds of Hope, Inc., 5668 Fishhawk Crossing Blvd., Lithia, FL, 33547 or The Parkinson's Foundation.