Diane Nadine Holdaway could drive anywhere in the contiguous United States in a single day. At least, this is what her children remember when she spirited them away on road trips which took them from the Boston area to Wisconsin or Miami Beach, all in 24 hours or less. But she traveled just as she lived: tough, straight to the point, and with an energetic resilience that kept her going and going and going, through every storm, every bought of turbulence, every moment of sadness, and every instance of grief, as she repeatedly endured the kind of adversity most of us only experience a few times in life.
Despite all, and remarkably so, Diane is known for her smile, her wit, her bold, brassy personality, and her quick, ironic sense of humor. She loved to laugh. She loved to smile. She loved to play. But more than any of those things, she loved to love. Her grandchildren call her Nana, her children call her mom, but most others call her Ma, the woman who could feed an army on her delicious Italian-style food. Meatballs, spaghetti, lasagna, eggplant parmesan, and her specialty, pizza, all of it she made, not just from scratch, but from love. She was a second mother to countless people, the kind of woman who made everyone feel at home, who cooked for anyone who would come through the door, and who hosted Christmas Eve feasts that were beyond compare. Yet, she did more than share food at her table. She shared herself. She shared love.
Diane gave even when she had nothing to give. She gave respect. She gave support. She gave strength. She gave people her presence and her time, and through this giving, she lived and continues to live, because when someone sees who you are and believes in you, and encourages you to be yourself, in any manner you choose, that person is giving you love, and acceptance, and affirmation, and once given, those things remain with you and become a part of you, as Diane became such an influential and significant part of many, many lives.
This bold, cheeky woman who loved to go out and dance with her friends, was the youngest in a family of eight and lived in Somerville her entire life. She has three children, several grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and kept birds as well as cats. She enjoyed sketching, harboring an innate talent which she never shared with others, but which she kept for herself, picking up a pencil and paper to skillfully draw a scene, a reflection, or a mood. Diane liked the colors purple and pink, the colors of sunrises and sunsets, those fiery hues which are associated with passion and energy and positivity. She loved stargazer lilies, roses, gerbera daisies, but most especially, lilacs and wildflowers from her son's garden.
She was well-versed in Netflix, which she watched from her favorite recliner, indulging in popular, binge-worthy series as well Judge Judy, another confident, gutsy, no-nonsense spirit who believes in blunt, frank talk and providing the unvarnished truth. Diane, a spitfire of a woman who loved people, who loved to flirt and tease and animate every conversation with her characteristic wit and her pleasant banter, was very likely to offer visitors a meatball sandwich along with a side of sarcasm. She sparkled. She glittered. She radiated warmth and crackled with enthusiasm and excitement, living for her family, sharing in their accomplishments, basking in their success, and experiencing life in their joy.
Diane's last week was a gift for all. In contrast to the dynamic strength she had in life, she died quietly and peacefully, but surrounded by those things she held most beloved, her family.
Diane is survived by her children, Melissa Fikuart and her husband JR of Kalona, IA and Adam Holdaway and his wife Sarah of Chelmsford; her grandchildren: Marilyn, Mishelle, Shelby, Ryan, Elizabeth, George and Charlie; four great-grandchildren: Felicity, Olivia, Ava and Kyler as well as her sisters, Shirley Olsen of Wisconsin and Susan Ruleman of Virginia. In addition to her parents, Diane is sadly predeceased by her daughter Tobi and her siblings: Ruth Gullage, George "Benny" Fifield, Marilyn Peters, James Fifield and Dorothy Fifield.
Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Diane for a period of visitation on Sunday June 5, 2022 from 1:00pm until 4:00pm in the Beals-Geake-Magliozzi Funeral Home, 29 Governors Avenue, Medford. Her funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday June 6, 2022 at 10:00am in Blessed Trinity Parish- St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, 107 North Main Street, Westford with an hour of visitation held in the church prior to Mass from 9:00am until 10:00am. Interment will follow in Westlawn Cemetery, Littleton.
Memorial contributions may also be made in Diane's name to:
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services
61 Medford Street
Somerville, MA 02143