Dianne Flechtner Crabill passed away May 9, 2022 at the age of 81 in Carrboro, North Carolina. She was born on May 21, 1940 in Tiffin, Ohio, the only child of Clair and Berniece Flechtner. She attended Tiffin public schools and was Salutatorian upon graduation from Tiffin Columbian High School. She and her high school sweetheart Thomas Buskirk Crabill attended Ohio State together, although Dianne eventually suspended her studies to marry Tom and start a family. The next few years took Dianne and the children from Columbus, OH to Chicago, IL; Ithaca, NY, Cleveland, OH; eventually moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1969.
Dianne had several careers throughout her life. First, as a wife and mother while she supported her husband’s academic and professional career and juggled almost every domestic task required by her three young children, regardless of where they made their home. Second, as a university professional working 30 years in administration at UNC-CH, where she retired in the early 2000’s to provide childcare for her young grandchildren. In addition to caring for her grandkids, Dianne worked more than 10 years at The Bookshop, a local landmark bookstore, where she was an indispensable presence. Dianne took all of her commitments to heart, never known to take a sick day, neglect her work or waste a penny.
When Dianne and Tom divorced in the 1970’s, she took on the heavy lifting of being a single working mother. While navigating this transition for herself and her kids, she worked hard to create a harmonious and successful co-parenting relationship which became a defining feature of their family. When divorcing, Dianne’s parents expected her to return to her hometown with the children. However, she felt strongly that better opportunities for her and her kids were to be had in North Carolina, so she built her new life independently in Chapel Hill, later moving to Carrboro in the 1980’s where she lived for the rest of her life. Year after year, she kept a safe and loving home while encouraging her kids to aim high and pursue educational and cultural experiences that they each continue to benefit from to this day.
Dianne had endless curiosity and loved travel and exploration - a small-town girl with a big-city spirit. In 1972, she moved her young family to Brazil as her husband took a year-long teaching opportunity at a university in Rio de Janeiro. That experience opened a new world for Dianne, as she learned Portuguese, made international friends, built a home in a new country and helped her children navigate studying in local Brazilian schools. Dianne loved to visit NYC and travel further afield whenever the opportunity arose, exploring Spain, Alaska, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Czechia, Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii and more.
Dianne also loved reading, movies, art, crafts, knitting and being a mom and grandmother. A woman of boundless energy, she was a charter member of at least two knitting groups and treasured the warm camaraderie of friends. Not one to call attention to herself, Dianne was modest, attentive and considerate to all who knew her, often surprising people with a meaningful gesture or beautifully wrapped gift. Behind her gentle demeanor was a brilliant mind, a quick wit, unfailing memory and an intellect that eagerly absorbed every detail around her. She never forgot or overlooked a detail of the lives of those important to her. In a gregarious family of boisterous, opinionated and lively personalities, she was probably the
smartest and most clever of all. But she never shone the spotlight on herself, preferring to focus on the accomplishments of others, inspiring those around her to appreciate life and be their best.
A proud and devoted resident of Carrboro, Dianne is survived by her children Linda Jane and her wife Karen Miller; Robert Andrew; Elizabeth Ann; and her grandchildren, Anne Charlotte and Jonathan Thomas, in addition to many beloved cousins and relatives in Ohio. She was a remarkable woman and will be missed by all who knew and loved her. Friends and family will honor her memory on May 21 in a private gathering at her home. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation supporting cancer patients and their families at UNC hospitals: https://beloudsophie.org/donate/.
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