Diana Collins Halpern, 71, longtime resident of Roxbury and Margaretville, died Monday, Feb. 16, at her home in Anthony, New Mexico.
She was born November 24, 1937, in Schenectady, the daughter of Norman and Dorothy (Carmen) Collins. In 1946 the family, including Diana’s younger brother, Stephen, moved to Roxbury, where Diana entered the third grade at Roxbury Central School. Always an excellent student, she graduated from RCS in 1955 as salutatorian of her class.
After attending William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia for a year, Diana returned to Roxbury and on September 1, 1956, married Peter S. Halpern, son of Zeke and Blanche Halpern of Margaretville. The Halpern family, who arrived in Margaretville about 1895, established clothing stores in both Fleischmanns and Margaretville, as well as the Halpern Supply Company, a hardware business, in Margaretville.
The young couple settled in Margaretville, where they became the parents of four children, Michael, Jane, Daniel and David. In addition to her role as a mother and wife, Diana completed her B.A. at Oneonta State College and worked at the Margaretville Hospital as a receptionist, admitting clerk and bookkeeper.
In 1976 the family moved to Mesilla Park, New Mexico, where Diana earned her M.A. in Dietetics at New Mexico State University. In 1986 they moved again, to El Paso, Texas, where Diana was employed as a dietitian in the public school system and also served as president of the local Friends of the Library Association. After her retirement, she and Peter built a new home in Anthony, New Mexico and moved there in 2005. They continued to be enthusiastic participants in the “Friends of Freddy” organization, formed by fans of a series of children’s books about a lovable animal character, Freddy the Pig. (Freddy even has a web page; www.freddythepig.org.) The series was written by Diana’s stepfather, Walter R. Brooks, who lived in Roxbury from the 1940s until his death in 1958.
A voracious reader and lover of classical music, Diana was also an avid quilter and cook, with a collection of over 100 books on those hobbies and other subjects that interested her.
Diana is survived not only by her devoted husband, Peter, but by her four children: Michael, a science teacher in Canutillo, N.M.; Jane (Mrs. Robert Myers), a computer programmer at Social Security headquarters in Baltimore, Md., Daniel, a process manager at McKesson Medical Surgical in Suwanee, Ga. And David, of Las Cruces, N.M. Daniel and his wife, Tracy, are the parents of Matthew, a student at University of West Georgia and of a daughter Kelley, who died in a tragic auto accident on April 18, 2005; Diana’s brother, Stephen and his wife Peggy, of Gainesville, Fla, are the parents of two sons, Peter and Greg. Three cousins also survive, Peter Spier and Janet Spier Bush (both living in Florida) and Laurel Wilson (North Carolina).
Diana will be warmly remembered by her friends in Roxbury and Margaretville for her droll sense of humor, her intelligence, her generosity and her courage in coping with a still poorly understood gastroenteric affliction.