Diane died peacefully with family at her side at CHSLD St Lambert, Quebec on April 2nd, 2020, at the age of 89, due to a blood clot in her leg after a 5-year struggle with the effects of a severe stroke and progressive vascular dementia which she faced with fortitude and good humour.
She was predeceased by her husband John Chesley Allen in 2007, and her first husband Frank Lewin in 1967. She had a large and loving family, including Nicholas (Lisa), Susan (Roland), Deborah (Ben), James dec. (Michelle sep.) and Ted (Helen), as well as 16 grandchildren Jack, Benjamin, Cole, Hanna, Francis, Erica, Antonia, Georgia, Ally, Nicholas, Will, Honor, Able, Grace, Kier, and Chris and 3 great grand-children Jacob, Amelia, Annabelle. She had one loving sister, Deborah Jacklin (Hal), and was aunt to her four children; Karen, Heather, Diana, and Eric. She was also aunt to June, George and Richard the children of Frank’s sister May (Brook). She had sisters-in-Law Maddy and Margaret and their large extended families in Ottawa and beyond.
Diane was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, to Jon Carlson and Doris Johnson, both from a large Swedish community in Jamestown, New York.
Diane grew up in Beacon Hill, Boston, and attended Brimmer May School. After high school she became a debutante at a society ball. Diane attended Wellesley College, and graduated with a B. History in 1953. On a summer trip to Europe she met Frank Lewin on the ship, who twirled her in front of the cameras in the ballroom and so impressed her that she allowed him visit her in Boston from Montreal. They married in 1954 and moved to Westmount, Qc, where she worked as a kindergarten teacher at Royal St. Georges. Frank started a development and building company in the Laurentians and they eventually moved to Piedmont, Quebec.
After Frank died in a tragic waterskiing accident, Diane met and married Ches Allen, had her fifth child, Teddy, and relocated to St Lambert, Qc. After all the children were more or less grown there were many years of large exuberant gatherings and holiday celebrations in the Hickson St. St Lambert home, which was the centre of her strong family life.
Diane was a passionate and talented artist and painted countless landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes. She loved going for long brisk walks in the outdoors in any kind of weather, and playing tennis when possible. Reading widely was another passion, and she started a book club while living in the Laurentians that carried on for many years. Later, Diane started working as a secretary for the Calcium Lab at McGill, which she enjoyed tremendously as she discovered her second ‘family’.
Diane’s outgoing personality ensured she had a wide circle of longtime and devoted friends Louise Viau, Barbara Nichols, Susi Gourevich, representing every stage of her life, and she made sure to regularly keep in touch with letters and phone calls.
She had an incredible strength which showed itself especially in these last years of her life. It was amazing and inspiring how she seemed to accept her terrible predicament after her stroke with grace, still remaining so open to others, smiling, rarely complaining, and still so concerned for others.
The family would like to extend thanks to the devoted staff at the CHSLD St Lambert for their kindness and compassion, and to her loving and devoted caregivers Kate, Carmen, Renée M., Denise, Jacqueline, Debbie, Anne, Leann, and Nancy.
And a warm special mention (and kiss and hug) from mom to Helen for her dedication to Diane and her outspoken defense of Diane’s care even going so far as to meet personally with the provincial Health Minister, thank you Helen for your love and your tireless efforts!
We miss you mom, Granny, Diane, and will keep you in our hearts and minds forever.