Diane was born May 10, 1950 in Belleville, lived her wonderful childhood in O’Fallon, IL, before establishing her family in Belleville. She was an entrepreneur and co-founded Kid’s Kloset before becoming a medical transcriptionist for Belleville Memorial Hospital and eventually retiring from Oncology Care Center in Swansea.
Diane loved to travel, from weekends at the lake to resorts in the Caribbean, she loved beaches, sun and fun! She enjoyed shows at The Fabulous Fox and Muny but loved a good concert at the amphitheater (Peter, Paul and Mary to Meatloaf to the Gaithers, live shows were her favorite). She loved fine dining as much as a hole in the wall but loved family meals at home more than either. She loved shopping, Von Maur, Dillards, Walmart, online…what else is open? She had a green thumb and loved planting every spring. Diane enjoyed sharing experiences and making memories, for it was people that mattered to her; family, friends, love and laughter were paramount. She made everyone feel special and never knew a stranger, often developing life-long friendships that were more like family. Diane had a softness for animals, having an entire litter of kittens born in her lap…and yes, she kept every one! Diane cherished her family and her life revolved around them, but she had no greater joy and admiration than her grandchildren whom she was extremely proud of and loved dearly, beaming when she spoke of them.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth R. Neukam, Jr., whom she married October 20, 1995, and who died August 14, 2012; her parents, Howard and Lois, nee Schaefer, Bode; a brother, Howard Bode, Jr; and a sister-in-law, Mary Jean Dinges.
Surviving are her children, Sara (Steve) Shirk of Columbus, OH, Jack Dinges, Jr. of Belleville, IL, and Ann Marie Dinges of Swansea, IL; her former husband and father of her children, Jack P. (Elaine) Dinges, Sr.;
Laurie Neukam (Garett Stephens) of O’Fallon, MO, and Kelly (Jon) Bingheim of Belleville, IL and their mother Karen Neukam; eight precious grandchildren, Benjamin, Cameron, Parker, Pearse, Connor, Abigail, Brooke, and Taylor; a beloved sister, Carol Bode of O’Fallon, IL; a brother, Kent Bode of O’Fallon, IL;
two sisters-in-law, Sandee Green of Oregon, Dawn (Bob) Thiel of Collinsville, IL; two brothers-in-law, Thomas Dinges of Belleville, IL and Jerry (Barb) Dinges of Belleville, IL; numerous beloved nieces and nephews; and many treasured friends. We are forever grateful to her friend and caregiver, Gail Grossman.
To honor Diane, her family requests that everyone complete a “random act of kindness,” sharing the goodness and love she always demonstrated. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com .
A joyous gathering and celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Private burial at Green Mount Catholic Cemetery, Belleville, IL.