Cover photo for Diane Sylvia Mccann's Obituary
Diane Sylvia Mccann Profile Photo
1934 Diane 2021

Diane Sylvia Mccann

August 20, 1934 — February 14, 2021

Diane Sylvia McCann passed on February 14, 2021, fifteen months following the diagnosis of osteosarcoma. She remained active and symptom free until the first week of February, when the disease compromised her breathing. She was surrounded in her last weeks in her own home by her husband (John McCann), her children Lisa Poncelet, Michele Plorde and Joshua Plorde (Desiree), stepchildren Richard McCann, (Anya), Carol DeSilva (James), and Barbara McCann, and several grandchildren.

Diane was born in St. Peter, Minnesota, on August 20, 1934. She was raised in Fairmont, Minnesota by her parents, Alma and Norbert Koenigs, alongside her four brothers and sister: Jerry (deceased), Lois (deceased), Donald, Paul and Noel. Diane completed her elementary and secondary education in Fairmont. A generous gift from her Uncle Otto prompted Diane to attend Arizona State University, where she graduated in 1956 with a degree in education. Diane took her first full time job in Buffalo,’ Minnesota as a secondary education teacher and thereafter taught home economics at Hopkins High School, Minnesota. In the summer of 1958, Diane met Melvin Marr and marriage followed in 1959. The young couple bought their first home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and daughters Lisa and Michele arrived in 1961 and 1963. Melvin died unexpectedly in late 1963.

Diane became reacquainted with her high school sweetheart, James Plorde, whom she married in 1964. Early the next year, Diane and family joined President Kennedy’s newly established Peace Corps, becoming the first volunteer family to be sent abroad, where they served for 2 years in Gondar, Ethiopia. Shortly after their return to Seattle, Diane bore a son, Joshua, in 1967. The family returned to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, in 1969 to follow their interest in community education (Diane) and infectious disease (James) participating in programs sponsored by the Universities of California (UCLA) and Washington (UW) and the United States Navy. The family returned to Seattle in 1971, residing in Madison Park. Her marriage ended in divorce in 1975.

Diane furthered her educational interests, narrowing her attention to the education of health professionals. She began as a health education intern at Group Health, became an educational consultant to the pediatric department at the University of Washington and a research associate at the Seattle VA. In 1974, Diane was awarded a Kellogg Health Education Fellowship from the Office Research in Medical Education, University of Washington, which led to a Master in Public Health Education in 1977. Adult learning theories and strategies to enhance the doctor-patient relationship became her expertise.

Diane met Dr. John McCann in February 1979, and they had their first date 2 days later on Valentine’s Day. Diane and John married in 1983. While getting know each other, and ultimately falling in love, they recognized they both were at professional crossroads. Opportunities became available to them both in California, where Diane took a position as Clinical Instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Valley Medical Center, UCSF in Fresno in 1979. Diane earned a Doctorate in Education in 1988 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1988. Diane ended her professional career in Sacramento as the Academic Coordinator for Clinical Instruction, University of California School of Medicine.

Following the conclusion of their professional careers, Diane and John returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2002. Together, they undertook a masterful whole-house remodeling project on Bainbridge Island. Diane reinvigorated her Seattle friendships and family relationships. She participated actively in book and walking clubs, started and cultivated a domestic garden, took up painting and continued her passion for cuisine, cooking for friends, family and grandchildren. She knit beautifully; her sweaters were simply the best. In her final days, she gifted her own scarves, sweaters and hand-made items to her children, stepchildren and in-laws, directing specific pieces to match the preferences and sizes of their recipients. It was beautiful to watch.

Today, the recollection of her distributing her handmade items brings us to tears. Tears of loss and sadness. Happy tears too, for sharing her beautiful self with those she loved.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the League of Women Voters and Doctors Without Borders. Please post tributes to the Seattle Times obituary page. Diane’s cremains will be interred at Port Blakely Cemetery on Bainbridge Island in a private ceremony. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Diane Sylvia Mccann, please visit our flower store.


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