Diane K. Dittman Franke, 89, passed away peacefully on September 13, 2020.
She was born the second of three children on April 14, 1931 in La Crosse, Wisconsin to Kathleen and Albert Dittman.
As a little girl, she enjoyed getting together with her best girlfriends at the local swimming pool and wandering around LaCrosse, which was always “God’s country” in her eyes, and the most beautiful place to live.
Diane attended the old Central High School, and when she was 16 met Rich Franke at a local Aquinas dance. He asked to walk her home and they were married four years later at Blessed Sacrament Church.
They spent their honeymoon on Balsam Lake, where they would eventually take their seven kids every summer—she had a delicious recipe for frying up all the “sunnies” that were caught!
Diane had a vivacious personality and loved conversation and meeting new people. In a letter to one of her granddaughters she wrote: “for some reason I ran wherever I went, even as an adult.”
It’s true, there were never enough hours in the day to do all that she wanted for others. Everyone came to Diane if they needed something sewed or hemmed, from jeans to wedding dresses. She volunteered wherever she could and cared for four elderly relatives and her husband until his passing in 2010. They were blessed with 59 years of marriage.
Her passion was music. She relished every performance she attended at local community theater, schools, and on and off Broadway. She loved to hear a beautiful choir, orchestra, or band. She would always play piano and coerce her children into singing along. Diane dedicated her adult life to singing with the Blessed Sacrament choirs, where she added her rich, beautiful alto voice. Her faith was very important to her and she instilled that love of music and faith in her children.
She loved to travel and “people watch.” She was lucky to travel across the United States, Europe and many summers to Wrigley Field to cheer on the Cubs. Even in her later years she went to Italy and NYC!
Mostly, Diane was a wonderful mother. She was the “best paper boy in LaCrosse” as she helped her five boys with their routes for many winters. She was always available to talk and help in any way, and enjoyed visits from her many grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her brother Bill (Catherine) Dittman, and is survived by her sister Susan (Stan) Johnson and her sister-in-law Joan (Steve) Henry, as well as her seven children and sixteen grandchildren: Steve and Barb Franke and their children Joel (Margaux), Jamie (Alex) Lugo, and Josh; Dave Franke and his son Dave (Taryn); Tom Franke and his children Mary, Jerry, and Martha; Jane and Bill Holland and their children Rebecca, Robert, and Richard; Dan Franke; Sue and Steve Mendell and their children Jessica, Emilie, Ashley, and Kyle; and Paul and Angela Franke and their children Maria and Sam, along with six great grandchildren Breanna, Holden, Elijah, Naomi, Violet, and Stella.
She was a bright light on this earth and will be sorely missed.
Her funeral mass will be held on Monday September 21, 2020 at 12:00 PM at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Rev. Peter Raj will officiate with burial to be held in Oak Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be from 11:00 AM until the time of Mass at church on Monday.
The family is grateful to Bethany St. Joseph, Mayo hospice care and the Blaschke Schneider funeral home for their love and help.
Memorials may be made to Diane’s beloved Blessed Sacrament and to Aquinas HS.