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A Life Well Lived By An Angel On Earth
Diana (now Dianna) Lynn Kirkland Parrick, 63, born January 28, 1951, passed peacefully in her sleep on September 1, 2014, with her devoted husband at her side. She was cherished by her husband of 44 years, Frank Parrick; mother, Oneida Rose (Williams) Kirkland; and siblings, Cheryl Ann Kirkland, Robert Guy Kirkland, Jr., and Suzanne (formerly Sue Ellen) Kirkland Kincaid. Her father, Sr. M/Sgt. Retired Robert Guy Kirkland also passed in his sleep on Easter Sunday April 19, 1981, in his Tuscon, Arizona home. Dear Sweet Di, “Dino” or “Dianna Banana Nanny Poo” as we often called her, lived quite an adventure in her lifetime! She was born in Tucson, Arizona at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, attended elementary and junior high school in Tucson, moved with her family to Phoenix in 1964, and graduated from Maryvale High in 1969. Dianna made friends easily, and was everyone’s favorite because she was so sweet-natured, unselfish, optimistic, outgoing, accepting, loving, and giving. Dianna met and began dating Frank Parrick in 1966. They married on December 20, 1969 in Phoenix. Dianna and Frank spent a few years in Culver City and Simi Valley, California before returning to Phoenix. Then, in 1976 Dianna and Frank joined Suzanne and their mother, Oneida “Sunny” in Anchorage, Alaska where they soon introduced Suzanne to her husband, Fred (now married for 31+ years themselves). Her sister, Cheryl “Cary” followed in 1977; and her brother, Robert, joined them in 1981. White in Anchorage, Dianna worked as an Employment Specialist at the Alaska State Department of Labor, where she excelled in helping unemployed workers find new jobs. Dianna’s life mission was to help others. She never tired of making people happy. Dianna also adored cats and kittens, adopting and/or rescuing dozens of lucky felines during her lifetime. Dianna’s untimely passing leaves her three furry companions mourning the absence of her soft lap, loving arms, and never-ending affection. In 1985, Dianna and Frank moved to his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. They owned and operated a small engine business for a few years before becoming a long-haul truck driving team with their own Kenworth tractor-trailer rig, in which they drove cross-country to all 48 contiguous states together, often visiting friends and relatives along the way. Dianna went out of her way to locate “lost” relatives, and then nurture relationships with members of the Kirkland clan on her father’s side, the Williams and King clans on her mother’s side, and the Parricks on her husband’s side. She then shared news of marriages, births, graduations, military inductions and deployments, illnesses and deaths with all of the other family members. At various times, Dianna was also employed as a professional dancer, a model, a waitress, a bartender, a school bus driver, an aide to members of the sight-impaired/blind community, a warehouse worker, a postal clerk, a casino chauffeur, a vending machine entrepreneur, a creator of custom-ordered, personalized T-shirts, rugs and mugs, a vendor of flowers and cotton candy, as well as a part-time pizza delivery driver. If the job description entailed meeting and serving people, Dianna was “all in”. Dianna was pleased to handle the myriad record keeping, reporting, and tax payment requirements of the many small businesses that she and Frank owned and operated over the years, taking pride in always balancing their accounts “to the penny”. She also took pride in “carrying her own load”. Although Dianna was a petite 5’1″, she was strong and determined, loading and unloading trucks, driving, backing, up, and parking their huge tractor-trailer rig with skill unmatched by anyone except Frank, deftly operating forklifts, stocking shelved and vending machines, sorting mail, and eagerly helping less muscular wimps of both genders. Throughout Dianna’s years with Frank, they were nearly inseparable. Whether cruising or hot-rodding on Central Avenue in Phoenix (and other roadways) in Frank’s T-Bird or GTO, hanging on tight on the back of his sand dunes of California, racing snow-mobiles on the slopes at Alyeska Ski Resort, navigating Alaska waterways and/or fishing from Frank’s own riverboat, soaring through the clods in Frank’s bush plane, checking out properties for Frank to list and/or sell in the Anchorage real estate market, driving their Kenworth across the nation, running their myriad small business together, sharing a meal, or just chilling in from of the TV at home, Dianna was most content when she was at Frank’s side. Dianna longed to have children but was not able to bear children of her own. Consequently, she immensely enjoyed doting on her stepchildren, Debra Parrick Garrison and Jeffrey Parrick, as well as her nieces and nephews, Jason and Alisha Kirkland in Phoenix, and Fred and Suzette Dyanalynn Kincaid in Seattle. Dianna was a generous, cheerful, friendly person who loved to read, learn new things, continually improve her skills, and mentor young people. She also enjoyed team sports and friendly competition, including bowling, baseball and softball, darts, billiards, cards and board games. Above all, Dianna loved to socialize, love, hug, kiss, laugh, sing and dance! Dianna was diagnosed with advanced Stage 4 cancer, from head to hip in July 2013. Over the next year, she underwent brutal radiation and chemo therapies (in addition to hip surgery), lost her hair and her curves, but never lost her resolve to “keep on trucking” even when told that her brain, spine, hip, lungs and other vital organs were still infected with malignant tumors. When informed that she was too frail for additional therapy and there was nothing more that could be done, Dianna did not despair. Instead, she embarked on fulfilling experienced on her “bucket list”. In May/June (following her last chemotherapy treatments) and again in July/August (after learning she was too frail for more), Dianna was flown first class from Kansas City, Missouri to Phoenix, Arizona, where she was welcomed to Robert’s 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home (dubbed The Kirkland Resort just for these occasions). Suzanne flew in from Seattle, and Cary flew in from Anchorage so all four siblings could be together for the first time since the mid-1980’s. Dianna was pampered and waited on (as much as she would allow), fed “gourmet” meals (causing her to gain a miraculous four pounds), and escorted to a couple of local casino’s (so she could try her luck at hitting the jackpot a few more times). While at “The Kirkland Resort,” Dianna ventured into the backyard swimming pool where the water was not to cold and not to hot, but just right. Then, she lounged in the shade of the covered patio, delighted to watch her grandnieces Jenna (8 years old) and Allison ( 4 years old) frolic like dolphins and show off their aquatic skills. On Dianna’s first visit, she was treated to dinner at Garcia’s (the family’s 40+ year old favorite Mexican restaurant) by her nephew, Jason, and his wife, Leesa. On her second visit, Dianna was the guest of honor at the family BBQ hosted by her former sister-in-law (and Jason’s mom), Joanie. During the entirety of her visit to “The Kirkland Resort,” Dianna bore a continuous smile; and her eyes sparkled in her tiny angelic face. Dianna’s mother, Sunny, (fresh out of the hospital herself) was also flown to Phoenix from Anchorage barely in time to be with Dianna for a couple of days before Dianna’s visit came to an end. Then, on April 13, Dianna flew back to Kansas City and her soul-mate, Frank, who had stayed behind to care for Dianna’s precious cats. Dianna never complained and never asked for special treatment. until the very end, Dianna strived to remain self-sufficient- not wanting to trouble others with her woes or impose on others for her care. Dianna fought valiantly, living far longer than her doctors’ most optimistic predictions. Then, when every ounce of strength was exhausted, she left this world as she lived her life-without a fuss, without a whimper. Upon her death, with helping others still foremost on her mind, Dianna bequeathed her body to a medical school in Kansas City, Missouri, in order that aspiring doctors may study the cancer that consumed her body (but never her spirit). It was Dianna’s fervent hope that this next generation of researchers and physicians may discover better means of treating-and ultimately curing- others beset with this horrid disease. Dianna is greatly missed! It is heartening to know she is healthy and whole again and probably dancing and singing happy songs, shining her beautiful light down upon us, lovingly guiding us as angels do so well. We miss you Di! With All Our Love, Your Beloved Family Fond memories of sweet, fun-loving, happiness-inducing, merriment-promoting Dianna may be posted on-line at: http://www.heartlandcremation.com