About Diane and Larry
Written by Larry for Diane's eulogy.
Diane was born to Ivor and Doris Campbell in Quincy, Massachusetts along with her twin brother, David on May 25, 1941. She graduated high school from Woodward School in Quincy in 1958. I think she said there were about 10 other girls in her class. After high school she attended the Colorado Women’s college where she graduated with an associate degree in 1961.
(Larry was born to JM and Cecile Bryant in Enid, Oklahoma on August 27, 1937. His older sister Tish was excited to have him join their family. Larry's family moved to Anchorage and he graduated from Anchorage High School in 1955. Larry went into the Navy after high school and then he then went on to San Jose State College and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in 1963.)
While Diane was visiting a friend in Seattle, Washington she rode with a friend who was going for an interview as a stewardess with Alaska Airlines. While waiting in the reception a woman asked Diane if she was there for an interview. Diane told her that she was just waiting for a friend who was doing an interview. The lady then asked Diane if she would like to go through the interview process and Diane said sure, why not. As a result, Diane was offered a job with Alaska Airlines and her friend wasn’t. After training in Seattle, Diane moved to Anchorage and began rooming with another Alaska Airlines stewardess named Sue McCubins. who just happened to be engaged to my best friend Phil Ramstad.
I was introduced to Diane and was immediately smitten and we began dating which lasted for approximately a year when Diane felt that she needed to move closer to her parents. She then moved to Miami, Florida and began flying for National Airlines as a stewardess. Almost all of her flights were between Miami and New York City where she could visit with her parents when In New York. She began scheduling all of her flights in the first two weeks of the month so that she could use the two weeks off to visit her parents or to just take trips with her friends since the air fare was free. In addition to visiting her parents, she told me that she had visited Europe, Israel, South America, Singapore and Hong Kong.
On returning from one of her trips to Singapore, she had an overnight layover in Anchorage and decided to call me to say hi and invite me to dinner with her and some friends. Well, we saw each other and knew that we were meant for each other. We became engaged and she spent the next year commuting from Miami to Anchorage to visit with me at my parent’s house for two weeks a month. She then quit her job with National Airlines and flew back to Anchorage where we were married on 9/9/1966.
Early in our marriage I worked for an offshore construction company that installed platforms and pipelines in Cook Inlet near Anchorage and Diane became a stewardess with Wien Airways. We bought a new home, a small float plane and had a log cabin built at the Alyeska ski resort out of Anchorage and a small cabin on Red Shirt lake which only had access by float plane. Our daughter, Jessica Bryant Mireles, was born 5/29/1969 and it was definitely time to get a larger plane to carry all of the baby stuff.
Two years later the company I worked for wanted to transfer us to Australia with a temporary stop in Houston. Diane was 4 or 5 months pregnant with Brandon when the job in Australia fell through, so they transferred us to New Orleans and eventually to London. Brandon was born in New Orleans on 1/8/1971 and was not healthy. We had packed all of our winter clothes in Anchorage since we didn’t think we would need them in Australia so Diane flew to Anchorage with Jessica and Brandon to go into storage to get some warmer clothes for England and I flew to London to start work on a new project.
On arrival in Anchorage, Brandon came down with pneumonia and spent a week in the hospital and finally the doctor gave Diane the go ahead to move Brandon to London. In the meantime I had rented an apartment in downtown London on the ground floor of a 6 story building and it didn’t take Diane long to decide that she didn’t like it. It was older and dark. Her father said it was the kind of apartment that U.S. soldiers liked during the war as it made a good bomb shelter. Anyway, after 6 months we rented a nice home in Frimley Camberly, which had lots of light with a fox family with 4 or 5 babies just outside Jessica and Brandon’s bedroom. Lots of raccoons running around also. I had a 30 mile commute to London which gave me time to do some work and read the paper. I remember a write up in a London paper about an American riding the train into London with his head out the window, making rude remarks about English bathing habits. (It wasn’t me)
Anyway, it didn’t take long for the company to decide that they wanted me in Great Yarmouth, England where they had a base camp and where barges and tugs came in and out from the North Sea. We stayed in a company flat while we were looking for a decent apartment and almost froze while there. This was winter and the heating system consisted of a steel block about 2 foot deep by 3 feet high and 5 foot long. The idea was for the electricity to come on at night to heat up the iron block when the electricity rate was cheap, and they it was supposed to keep you warm during the day. Didn’t work. Finally found a house in Belton outside Yarmouth and it didn’t take long for Diane to meet and make friends with our neighbors, some of whom we still communicate with.
During our stay in England Diane and the kids and I spent many week ends going out to villages where there were ads for antique cars. Not only did we see and buy some great cars, but we got to see lots of England that most tourists don’t see. By the time we left England we had bought and shipped quite a few antique cars that we shipped to Diane’s brother who sold them for us. (1923 Rolls Royce Coupe, 1932 and 1933 Rolls Royce salons, 1936 MG TA, a 1968 Aston Martin, a 1936 A C and a Morgan plus 8). We spent 5 ½ years in England and both Jessica and Brandon had proper British accents. The oil construction moved further north in the North Sea, and the company closed the Yarmouth base and we Moved to Antwerp Belgium.
Again we found a really nice new house in Antwerp and again Diane made friends in the neighborhood. Both Jessica and Brandon were put in a regular Belgium school as there was no American school in Antwerp and most of their classmates spoke some English. Both kids lost their British accents. Diane and her friend Lydie spent their time driving into Holland for shopping just enjoying themselves while the kids were in school. Diane and I frequently made short trips around Europe, visiting Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Luxemburgh and France. We also took cruises to the Canary Islands, Lansarotte and Tunesia.
After two years, the company and I had a disagreement about pay scale and I resigned and Diane packed up and we moved back to Anchorage. Diane traditionally did 90 percent of the packing and I arranged shipping.
I found a job with another company in Anchorage who did some offshore construction similar to the work I had been doing in Europe. Things were going pretty well in Anchorage and we bought a nice home and a Cessna 185 float plane so we could get up to our cabin on the lake. It was about this time that Diane met our neighbor Dellarae Matilla’s mother who is the Lady that led Diane to the Lord and changed the direction of our lives.
Things were going well for us when two Engineers I knew and had worked with approached me with an offer of a partnership in a company that would be working in the North Sea again. Seems it was an offer we couldn’t refuse since we rented out our house, sold our airplane, put three antique Rolls Royces and our personal belongings into storage and moved once again, this time to Aberdeen, Scotland, along with one of the Engineer partners in the company. The other Engineer stayed in the states with the intention of getting more contracts.
We first rented an apartment in Aberdeen and both Jessica and Brandon went to a Scottish school since there was no American school in the area. Again, Diane made close friends with our neighbors who Diane communicated with until recently when they both passed away. Jessica still communicates with their daughter. We spent two years in Aberdeen and at times I had trouble understanding Brandon due to his Scottish accent. The contract we had expired and the partner in the States hadn’t contracted any further work, so we planned to fold our tents and go back to Anchorage.
The company we had formed had up to 20 Engineers working offshore on the platforms and one of them had a company in New Orleans who was in financial trouble and he made us another offer, that we couldn’t refuse, to come to New Orleans and help him get the company running well from a financial standpoint. So instead of going to Anchorage we sold our Aberdeen house and headed to Louisiana. The company had many personnel and financial problems and after 1 ½ years we decided that we had had enough, the company was beyond saving , moving and changing of schools for Jessica and Brandon (who had lost his Scottish accent, but learned some cuss words) and the weather etc. helped us make the decision to just resign and go back to Alaska. So, we loaded up a U-haul truck which I drove while Diane drove our Buick Station wagon with both Jessica and Brandon and we headed back toward Anchorage. We stopped in Ashland, Oregon where my parents had retired and spent a couple of weeks there. During our visit, we spoke about the cold and long winters with little day light (sun up at 10:am and 3:00pm for sun down) in Anchorage in the winter and decided to see what work might be available in Southern Oregon. We rented a house, moved in and it took me 6 months to find a decent job with the City of Medford where I stayed for 20.
During our years in the Medford area is when Diane’s ministry really grew. She encouraged us to all join a church and get baptized in Ashland and she incorporated a non-profit company called Keys to the Kingdom. She became the head of the Jackson County Women’s jail ministry where she arranged teams of Christian women to go into the jails weekly. Diane would have gone into the jail every week but other women wanted to go in to minister also, so Diane went 3 or 4 times a month. Diane began having large women’s retreats after Jessica and Brandon had begun College, and would sometimes have 15 or twenty women spending the weekend at the house and Baptising them in the swimming pool. Needless to say I found that a good time to go camping or on fishing trips to the coast . During this time Diane and Sharon Phifer connected and became partners in Keys to the Kingdom ministry. They began arranging for speakers from California and Illinois come in and minister for several days at a time. Diane had made one or two trips to India with Pastor Betty Bazzel, but when Sharon joined the ministry with Diane they made 5 or 6 more trips to India to minister with a Christian Indian pastor.
After I retired, we moved to Roseburg, Or. where Diane and Sharon continued with the Keys ministry. In early 2019 Diane and I made the decision to move closer to our children and grandchildren as it is a 16hour drive from Roseburg to Southern California and we felt that if we didn’t move then, our health wouldn’t let us move as we got older. We checked out Reno and decided that homes were too expensive and it wasn’t as close to southern California as we wanted to be. Next we looked at Beaumont, Californian but didn’t like the thought of high income and property taxes. Next, our friends Carol and Mike Gardner offered us the use of their home in north Phoenix to use as a base to look over the area. We ended up purchasing a new home in Ventana Lakes but soon found out it was just too small for our furniture and the only view out the windows was a concrete block wall. So, we found an older home on Chino Lake about two blocks from our new home and settled in.
Diane had had double hip replacement surgery in Roseburg, but it didn’t stop her from walking daily for 5 or 6 miles. She usually started her walk at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning and then would come back home to get me for a smaller walk. She seemed to know everyone and their pets we passed. The pets especially liked to see Diane coming as she always had doggie treats to give them.
On the day that Diane went to be with the Lord she was in more pain than normal and said that if her pain was going to continue as it was, then she was ready to go home to the Lord. 15 minutes after that, she was with the Lord. An RN neighbor, Barbara Ciaravino saw the rescue equipment in front of our house and drove over and took me to the hospital and said she would be there for as long as I was. Shortly after that, Carol Gardner, also an RN, arrived and I have to say that they really blessed and comforted me. Their medical knowledge also helped me to understand what was going on in the hospital. Since then the offerings of help, food and condolences from Diane’s Bible study friends and our neighbors has been overwhelming. Marlene and Rick Pressler have been a big help in arranging this memorial and other things. Thank you all.
The Lord gave me 54 great years with Diane. We loved each other and I miss her so much. She was a great wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.