Diane Victoria Magnan

10551001_10202142276390822_7987942206732539866_nDiane (Dino) Victoria Magnan ,71, passed on to her final adventure on July 8, 2014. She was born in St Louis, Missouri on June 10, 1943 to Jean Baptiste Magnan and his new wife Ruby May (Sunny) Bickley while he was overseas fighting in World War II.  Diane was the only non-baby boomer the couple had; nine more children were born to them after the war was over.


A lovable problem child, she was a sometimes unhappy babysitter for the rest of the brood; other times a doting second mother-figure, especially for the youngest three.  Rebellious teenager was the term coined originally for her in the 1950’s when her parents watched in chagrin as their eldest child relentlessly marched to the beat of her own drummer.  She married Ronald Paul Orrin at the age of 18 and two years later gave birth to their only child, Lorena Sue, who had a host of aunts and uncles clamoring to play with Lorena (Rena) or baby sit, whichever was age-appropriate.


Shortly after, however, Diane moved with her family to Los Angeles, California, to not come back to Michigan except for the funeral of her mother in 1987. To her siblings she became a role model for living life to the fullest-getting out of her comfort zone and seeking adventure in the promised land of the Golden State. For many of her siblings, their coming-of-age rite of passage included a visit to big sister Diane in California. They felt that the Mamas and Papas song “California Dreaming” was written just for this trip. From those experiences, her siblings began to admire even more, her courage to leave behind what she felt were the conservative confines of Western Michigan and make her own new life on her own terms with no judgment. The younger siblings thought of her as an exotic, beautiful and creative older sister, who sent handmade gifts and dispatched advice in her long letters filled with embellishments, fonts, doodles and notes.


In the late 1960’s Diane and her family moved from the San Fernando Valley to Hermosa Beach, CA, where she many times said were some of her happiest days. More life changes led her to relocate in Seattle, Washington in 1985 where she reinvented herself again. Her professions spanned from a topless GoGo dancer in the Valley in the 60s, CFO for Ron’s construction business, and Critter’s Bartender in the better part of the 70s in Hermosa, CA, to a Custodial Supervisor at the Seattle Central Community College in 2003 to present.  As a beloved colleague and employee, her retirement party in 2013 highlighted her special gifts as an intermediary, organizer and peacemaker, skills she originally learned as the big sister to so many siblings. It was obvious her co-workers respected and revered her as each story of her expertise was told at the celebration.Diane-0613-1


Preceding her in death are her parents, her brothers Christopher and Danny along with her former husband Ron (11/15/03).  Left to cherish all the wonderful memories are her boyfriend Robbie Hill of Seattle, WA, her daughter, Lorena (David) Casey of Lawndale, CA,. granddaughters Jennifer Marie (James) Bailey of Naugatuck, CT and Kathryn Diane Casey of Lawndale, CA., brothers John of Wrens, GA, Michael (Laima) of Seattle, WA, Patrick of Ione, CA, Kevin of Lansing, MI, sisters Stephanie (Todd) Dufford of Grandville, MI, Robin (Jim) Wheelock of Shoreline, WA, Cindy (Ron) Hutchinson of Wyoming, MI., several nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, many cousins and friends.


As Diane requested, her ashes will be scattered into the ocean within view of her favorite landmark, the Hermosa Beach Pier. A memorial gathering is planned in Seattle, Washington at Seattle Central C.C. at a later date. A memorial gathering is also planned at her sister Stephanie‘s home on Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 2-5. Condolences may be emailed to: lorena.casey@yahoo.com

One Response to “Diane Victoria Magnan”

  • Stephanie Dufford says:

    I love this embellished version. It tells more of the whole story. She had a huge impact on my life. She was a wonderful big sister and mentor; so loving and unselfish.

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