Diana Lynn Connor

Diana Lynn Connor
August 24, 1956 – September 1, 2017

Diana Lynn Cantrell Connor, the most gung-ho Aggie who never attended A&M, the most indulgent mother who never had her own child, and the toughest fighter who never threw a punch, died on Friday, September 1, 2017, in Bryan, surrounded by family and friends. She was 61.

Diana was born in Sweetwater, Texas on August 24, 1956. When she was 2, her family moved to Cooper, Texas, where they lived until moving to Roswell, New Mexico in 1967. In 1971 the family moved back to West Texas, and Diana graduated from Cooper High School in Abilene in 1974. She attended TCU, graduating in 1978 with a degree in home economics, after which she went to work for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as a home demonstration agent for Johnson County in Cleburne. In 1980 she moved home to Abilene to work as an electric living consultant with West Texas Utilities.

A lifelong Baptist, she met her future husband Mike Connor in Sunday school at the First Baptist Church. They were married in 1986. In 1989 Diana and Mike moved to Dallas, where she worked as an administrator for the Junior League. After moves to Tulsa in 1994 and Longview in 2000, the Connors settled in Bryan in 2003. Diana worked as a membership investment representative for the B-CS Chamber of Commerce from 2005 until 2011. Her outgoing personality made her tremendously successful, just as it won her legions of friends at every stop along her journey in life.

That journey was never easy. At age thirteen Diana was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, a disease which over the decades led to two organ transplants, open-heart surgery, the loss of a leg, and countless hospital stays. Her steadfast perseverance in the face of adversity, and her refusal to complain about the lousy hand fate had dealt her, would be remarkable enough. But even more extraordinary is the fact that she never let her physical hardships define her. Faced with challenges that would defeat a lesser person, she viewed each new health crisis as a bothersome nuisance to get past so that she could resume the urgent business of living.

For Diana, living meant helping others. Unable to have children of her own, she became a substitute mom and mentor to dozens of young people. She and Mike became the foremost boosters of the A&M Singing Cadets, a group to which her husband and brother had both belonged. For her many services, including the creation of an endowment to buy class rings for needy members, she was named an Honorary Singing Cadet, the organization’s highest honor. She likewise became a fanatical supporter and beloved friend of the A&M women’s basketball team, never missing a home game and traveling with the team to many tournaments and championship games. The number of home-cooked meals she served to Singing Cadets and basketball players would be impossible to count. Diana also became mom-away-from-home for many children of friends and relatives who attended A&M. That support for Aggies included Diana and Mike quietly paying a cousin’s entire way through A&M and launching him on a successful career.

As Diana’s health grew more precarious in her final two years, she summoned even greater determination to live with purpose and enthusiasm. A trip to Tennessee to root for the Aggie football team landed her in a Nashville hospital, which mostly irritated her because she had to miss the game. Typically, she insisted that Mike still attend. Her many trips chaperoning the Singing Cadets included a trip to Boston and New York just before her final illness. There was exactly zero chance that she going to miss the Cadets’ performance in downtown Manhattan or their visit with President George H. W. Bush in Kennebunkport.

After having her leg amputated, she was thrilled to be fitted with a prosthesis that briefly gave her new mobility. Only two weeks before her death, despite her family’s concerns, she made the trip to Dallas-Fort Worth for a reunion with old Tulsa friends. While in Fort Worth she insisted that her nephew Calvin show her his new fourth-floor dorm room at TCU, even though she was confined to a wheelchair. The next day she attended her final sporting event, cheering the Texas Rangers on to victory over the Astros. Clearly, nobody could tell Diana Connor what to do, although she never hesitated to set the rest of us straight when she thought her way was the right way. Her kid brother thought she was bossy, but in fact she just didn’t have time for foolishness.

Diana’s zest for life and her service to others were exceeded only by her devotion to her husband and best friend Mike. Few couples have ever shared so many of the same passions, and their marriage set an example for others to follow. Diana did not wear her Christian faith on her sleeve, but it enabled her to face the end with the same courage and resilience that characterized her entire life. Hers was truly a life well-lived, and she will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Diana was preceded in death by her father-in-law Harold Connor of Daingerfield and is survived by her husband Michael Connor; her parents Jimmie and Mary Lynn Cantrell of Abilene; her mother-in-law Laverne Connor of Bryan; and her brother Gregg Cantrell, sister-in-law Stephanie Cole, and nephews Calvin and Nolan Cantrell of Fort Worth.

A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Bryan 2pm on Thursday, September 7, 2017 followed by a visitation.

The family requests donations be made in her honor to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Condolences

  1. Diana — an example for all of true courage and beautiful character. Mary Lynn and Jimmie, as another parent, I can only imagine your deep sadness. But, at the same time, try to take some joy in the fact that you reared a particularly special lady. In ordinary circumstances rearing a child is not an easy task. With Diana, your unselfishness allowed her to become the wonderful person she was and will remain in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know her.

  2. We are so sorry for your loss. Diana was the most positive, hard working and sweetest soul around! We will miss her!

  3. I thank God that He put giants walking among us, sometimes in Little women like Diana. My prayers of praise and thanks for her Salvation and for peace for all who love her…

  4. Such a privilege to have know Diana! We were blessed by her enthusiasm at many women’s basketball games and will miss seeing her smile. She so loved this community and university! We will miss you, Diana!

  5. Mike, you’re such a lucky guy to have found & spent so much time with such a fabulous soul mate, & to have created so many wonderful memories with. Her body may be gone, but her spirit is now free to be with you at all times.
    I hope I get so lucky as to find someone like that for me one day.

  6. Mike, we are so sorry for your loss. We never knew Diana, but got a glimpse of her poise and your mutual love through Facebook. We still think of you as the young man we taught and loved when you were in high school and every time I saw a posting of you and Diana, I was thankful that you found such a special partner in life. God has been with you this far and will continue to be with you during the next stages of your life. Take care, sweet friend.

  7. I am praying for all friends and family to find peace and comfort. She would want that for each of us. She lived life to its fullest. She set a great example that we should all follow.
    Today she is reuniting with old friends, family and many Aggies. She is free from pain. She is very happy.
    Until we meet again.

  8. We pray for the peace of Christ to be with you all during this time of your loss. Words are so inadequate to express our love for each of you and our deep appreciation for the life that was lived with such courage by Diana.

  9. It was a great pleasure and honor to serve you lunch at BVAMC over the past year. Next luncheon will never be the same and you will be dealy missed. Thank you for your service to not only our Aggie Community but this community as a whole. We know you will be resting in peace up there. We will all gather around a big table for a nice meal again. See you later.

  10. Diana was a Cooper, Texas, friend that I reconnected with over Facebook. She amazed me with her zest for life and helping others even during her health struggles. Prayers for all her family and friends.

  11. We’ve known each other since grade school. You were my very first friend when my family moved to Cooper. You will be missed and my heart goes out to your family. Mike you were the very best husband to Diana and I know God put you two together! I love you all!

  12. So sorry for your loss! Diana was a friend from more than 40 years ago that showed us the kindness of reaching out after my husband’s amputation recently! She encouraged us both so much!
    What a sweet spirit!!
    Our prayers are with you all!

  13. Such a brave lady! Sending sympathy and prayers to you and all of your family.
    Love, Frances (Simpson) Harriman and Eula

  14. Mary Lynn and Jimmie — what a remarkable daughter and person Diana was. We had no idea she had been having all these serious illnesses. We’re so sorry for the sadness her leaving this world is for you. But don’t you know Heaven is being organized and made better by her presence. Love you!

  15. Diana was a remarkable daughter, wife, friend and person. We’re so sorry for the sadness her leaving this earth is for you. But don’t you know Heaven is being organized and made better by her presence. Prayers and love are being sent to you.

  16. Dear Mike, our hearts are saddened by the news of Diana’s passing. She was truly an inspiration to so many! She was always so upbeat and we will never forget what a sweet spirit she always had. Please know that you are in our utmost thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time that you are having to bear. We ask our Loving GOD to surround you and all the family with HIS comfort and strength as you draw upon the precious memories that you shared with your amazing Diana! We love you,
    Claudia and Johnny McGill
    Daingerfield, Texas

  17. Mike and family,
    We will continue to pray for you all. Everyone who met Diana loved her. We were TCU BSU buddies. We (Diana, Gayle Bowen, & I were dubbed the 3 Musketeers). I loved her and will truly miss her.
    Tina Beckham

  18. Mike and Gregg:
    God’s blessings to both of you . Marilyn and I pray that God’s loving hand is with you during this difficult time. We pray for God’s peace as you grieve .

  19. I am so sorry Michael!! I am glad that you had such a wonderful marriage to an outstanding lady!! Prayers for better days ahead . I know that you will always have great memories.

  20. What a precious woman Diana was! Always smiling, full of determination, and never held back by adversity…what an example of a life well lived. Our prayers are with you, Jimmie, Mary Lynn, Mike and Gregg as you grieve the loss of a daughter, wife and sister. We love you,

  21. My name is Jana (Gillean) Blevins. I was in 1st grade with Diana…and in grade school at Cooper, Tx..I remember Diana well….am very sorry to see this…but…what a great gal she must have become…my condolences are with her friends and family

  22. All of us at Central Rolling Plains Co-op, Roscoe, TX would like to express our deepest sympathy
    to Diana’s family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are so very sorry for your loss.

  23. Mike, Skylar and I send our sincere condolences to you and your family. Heaven indeed has another angel in Diana. I enjoyed seeing her at the basketball games. During the weekend we spent at your home in 2014, I was able to witness first hand the pure essence of Diana’s loving spirit. We’re blessed to have spent that personal time with you two.

    Deborah Collins & Skylar Collins
    Cedar Hill, Texas

  24. Mike:

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. Diana is now living in one of God’s mansions….happy and free from pain.

  25. I enjoyed my time and friendship with Diana at the Chamber. She was a sweet little firecracker and will be greatly missed! Thinking of you Mike and family. Lifting you in prayer.

Sign the Guestbook

×