Diane Lazzarino

Diane Larson Lazzarino died Jan. 5 while under hospice care at her home of recent years, Neuvant House of Lawrence.

 

A proud native of Laramie, Wyoming—where her forebears were among Laramie’s earliest pioneers—Diane met her future husband, Alexander Lazzarino, while both were students at the University of Wyoming. After stops in Columbia, S.C, and Casper, Wyo., they moved in 1967 to Lawrence, where they chose to raise their family and establish their careers.

 

Immediately upon completing her master’s degree at the William Allen White School of Journalism—where the Diane Lazzarino Award now honors outstanding students in strategic communications—Diane began her 37-year career as a member of KU’s journalism faculty. Her writing classes were known for projects benefiting community agencies. She advised the KU Ad Club for 20 years, administered the school’s famous typing test, and, as a career capstone, served as founding director of the Bremner Editing Center until her 2006 retirement.

 

Always a busy working mother and community volunteer, Diane for many years toted deliveries for Lawrence Meals on Wheels—which she helped launch here in 1970—in her green VW Bug and, later, a sporty silver Fiat. She was an early activist for mandatory car safety seats for children, and, with rare-at-the-time foresight for the millennium, for 12 years led classes of her KU writing students through an ongoing chronicle of the lives of Hillcrest Elementary students who one day would become the Class of 2000.

 

Diane guided writing groups for seniors, immersed herself in a book club active for decades and enjoyed listening to Big Band music with close friends at the American Legion. She dedicated time and resources to causes benefiting vulnerable pets and wildlife, and, delighting in surprising distant family with gift memberships, remained a loyal member of the KU Alumni Association, as well as a knowledgeable fan of all KU sports teams.

 

She consumed her daily newspapers with a journalism teacher’s critical eye, read and collected a range of books that reflected her boundless curiosity—including a particular fondness for foreign correspondent Mildred Aldrich’s World War I memoir, “A Hilltop on the Marne”—and lovingly tended her seasonal array of plants and flowers at the Alvamar home she and Alex designed and built themselves in 1972.

 

Alex preceded Diane in death in 2002. She is survived by her children, Evie and Chris, both of Lawrence; her brother and sister-in-law, Lee and Judy Larson, of Prairie Village; sister-in-law Ann Lazzarino Edwards, of Florida; and beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and dear family friends near and far.

 

Services will be announced at a later date. To the staff and residents of Neuvant House, the family extends our deepest thanks. The blessing of sincere friendship will not be forgotten.

 

In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the student award fund in her name, administered by the KU Endowment Association, PO Box 1260, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Messages & Condolences

From Julie Hedges...

Dear Chris, I was so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. I always enjoyed her visits to KUAA to purchase gift memberships for family members. She was always so wonderfully friendly and generous. She will be so missed. Thinking of you and the family during this difficult time.

From Barbara Barnett...

When I first started teaching at the journalism school at KU, Diane’s office was right across the hall from mine. She was a wonderful friend and mentor. She was always there with a smile, good advice, a joke. She helped me so much, especially during that difficult first year. Her sense of humor was great. I remember after one particularly difficult week, she came in and threw up her hands and said, “Why are there no doughnuts here?” She was a wonderful person, and I treasure my memories of her. My condolences to her family.

From Laurie Doud...

Chris, I was sorry to read about your mom’s passing. She sounded like an amazing woman.

From Joan and Tom Black...

Evie and Chris, spending time with Diane was one of the joys of Neuvant House. She was always so charming and humble, and Tom and I were impressed when we read of all of her accomplishments. She will be missed.

From Carla Amerine Westheffer...

So sad for your loss Evie… I have so many fond memories of your mother. She was always so kind, generous and gracious with me. Wishing you peace and loving memories to ease your pain.

From Mary Whitaker Davidson...

Evie, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you and Chris are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care

From Clenece Hills...

Evie and Chris, my friendship with your parents has made a lasting impact on my life and I am grateful for it. Their contributions to our world made a difference and I will always admire their determination to accomplish the impossible. I write of them together because that is how I think of them. Your devotion to your mother is no surprise, but I respect it so much. She was so much fun and so imaginative and so generous. You two have so much to be proud of.

From Steve Dillon...

Evie and Chris,
I’m so sorry to learn of your mother’s death. She was an accomplished woman in every way, and shaped many lives and minds with her mentorship. I truly enjoyed my association with her, which spanned over 20 years. Despite her infirmities, she maintained her dignity and determination through all of it. My sincere condolences on her death.

From ellen green...

Chris
I was so sorry to read about the passing of your mother.
Sounds like she led a very busy life and touched so many.

Please Share Your Message & Condolences

*All fields are required. Your email address will not be published.