Obit: McLaughlin, Diane (1955? - 2008)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: McLaughlin, Romanowicz, Niedzwiecki, Brenner, Steinmetz, Jost, Frazier

----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI.) January 7, 2009

McLaughlin, Diane (1955? - 24 December 2008)

Diane McLaughlin Niedzwiecki, 53, of Lakewood, CO, died Christmas Eve morning, December 24, 2008, at Exempla Lutheran Hospital in Wheat Ridge, CO, after a 5 ½ year battle with ovarian cancer.

Services were Wednesday, December 31, at St. Ignatius Catholic church in Denver, with a Rosary led by her brother, Steve Niedzwiecki, at 9:30 a.m., and a funeral Mass officiated by Father Tom Jost at 10 a.m. A reception followed in the parish hall. A graveside service was held Saturday in Charlotte, NC, at Back Creek ARP Church at 11 a.m., officiated by the Rev. Wayne Frazier. The family received friends at the church afterwards.

Born in Thorp, WI, she was the daughter of the late Jake and Lucille Romanowicz Niedzwiecki. Long interested in science and nature, Diane earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and was awarded a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was at Chapel Hill where she met her husband of 24 years, Pat McLaughlin. They married in the university’s Catholic Student Union on July 21, 1984. Their son Matthew Nicholas McLaughlin, turned 13 two days before his mother’s death.

In addition to her husband and son, Diane is survived by her brother, Steve Niedzwiecki of Long Prairie, MN; sisters: Carol Brenner of Eau Claire, WI, and Jane Steinmetz of Browerville, MN; father-in-law, Ralph McLaughlin of Concord, NC, and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends who held her dear.

Diane did post-doctoral work in scientific research at the Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, followed by two years at Colorado State University.

She continued her career as a toxicologist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, working on the Rocky Flats Clean-Up and other toxic waste sites. When her health began to decline, she took a position as an environmental protection assistant with the U. S. Department of Interior’s Office of Environmental Protection and Compliance. Helping others was always the most important aspect of any job Diane held.

In addition to a dedication to science and knowledge, Diane was also a woman of deeply abiding, yet quiet and humble faith.

She was an active member of St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Parish in Denver, and took a leadership role each year in the Christmas basket program. She organized the church’s volunteers for the annual Brothers’ Redevelopment Paint-a-Thon to benefit low-income families and seniors, and gave of her own labor, even when she could no longer climb a ladder to paint.

Her interests included organic gardening, growing her own herbs, raising chickens for fresh eggs, and cooking, canning or freezing her garden’s bounty. She enjoyed reading, knitting, traveling and visiting museums and historic sites, and being at home with her husband and son.

Ovarian cancer took Diane’s life, but she never allowed it to define her life. She fought it until her last days - refusing to accept that she couldn’t be cured. Her greatest wish was to live for her son, who was only 7 when she was first diagnosed. She won the fight.

Memorials may be made to any U. S. Habitat for Humanity Int’l affiliate; Lutheran Medical Center Foundation, 8300 West 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO, 80033; or the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center Foundation, 1161 S. Vivian St., Lakewood, CO, 80228.

Crown Hill Funeral Home in Wheat Ridge, CO, and Wilkinson Funeral Home in Concord, NC, handled arrangements



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