Diane A. (Nobbman) Smith, 76, of Weekapaug, RI, wife of Richard A. Smith, died peacefully in Westerly on October 20, 2019, surrounded by her loving family. Diane was born in Lancaster County, Nebraska, a daughter of the late Ludwig and Isobel Nobbman.
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Growing up in Nebraska, Diane attended a prairie schoolhouse, often riding her horse to school with her brothers and sisters, and later graduated from the Pius X School in Lincoln. She moved to the northeast and had a 30-year business career as a commercial artist, graphic designer and art director with major firms in New York City and Stamford, CT. At age 46, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Connecticut and was selected by the History Department as the outstanding graduate in the class of 1989. She was thrilled to graduate from UConn on the same day her daughter Lorey graduated from Cornell Law School. Diane decided to attend Lorey's ceremony and retrieve her UConn diploma at a later date.
After working several years with advertising and marketing firms, Diane joined Xerox Learning Systems, the educational division of Xerox Corporation, where she met Dick in 1972. They were married in Arlington, VA in 1978, and with their children, thoroughly enjoyed the Washington, D.C. area where Dick continued his career with Xerox. Diane was especially happy to be living in the D.C. area when her favorite Washington Redskins team won the Super Bowl in 1982. They returned to Stamford in 1983, where they lived close to their children and five grandchildren until Dick retired in 2004.
Diane and Dick shared the family cottage in Weekapaug for nearly 25 years before building their own home and moving there permanently in 2004. In Weekapaug, she loved cultivating her beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. Diane published her own family cookbook – “Beach House Recipes” – and was a great “mom” to the four German Shepherd dogs she and Dick raised over 45 years, including her current sweetheart, Tampa. Her greatest enjoyment was bringing together her family and their friends at the beach house every summer, as well as year-round on weekends and holidays for barbeques, fishing, surfing, winter walks on the beach, and Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
In 2015 Diane and Dick endowed the Diane A. Smith 1989 Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The fund provides annual financial support to undergraduate students who are completing their academic degrees on non-traditional timelines where family obligations or economic constraints have caused a break of a year or more in their educational paths. The scholarship was inspired by Diane’s own experiences in raising a family, sustaining a career, and completing her academic work later in life.
In addition to her husband, Diane is survived by their daughter Lorey Leddy of South Salem, NY, their son Michael Rives and his wife Michi of Charlotte, NC, their five beloved grandchildren who delighted her for more than 17 years – Thomas and John Rives, and Madeleine, Michael and Eliza Leddy – and her sisters Lois Dack of Mooresville, NC, and Lora Jones of Pensacola, FL. She was predeceased by her brothers Larry, Gerry and Dale Nobbman.
The family expresses their grateful appreciation to her local doctors – Drs. Robert Legare, David Burchenal, Niall Duhig, Adrian Hamburger, Bradley Lavigne, and Rachel McCormick -- and their nurses and staff, to Kerin Da Cruz and The Westerly Hospital nurses and staff where Diane said she received “All Star Treatment”, and to Drs. Navid Hafez and Sarah Goldberg and the clinical trial teams at the Smilow Cancer Hospital of Yale New Haven Health.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, October 23, from 4-7 pm at Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce Street, Westerly. There will be a private burial for the family. A Memorial Service will be held at the Weekapaug Chapel, 106 Noyes Neck Road in Westerly at 11:00 am on Thursday, October 24. For online condolences please visit www.gaffneydolanfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Diane’s name to the Diane A. Smith 1989 Scholarship Fund (0031444), The UConn Foundation, 2390 Alumni Drive, Storrs, CT 06269, or The Westerly Hospital Foundation, 25 Wells Street, Westerly, RI 02891.