A Tribute to Auntie Di

April 23, 2017
Lori Zager

I met Diane in 1980.  Steve and Ed worked together. Diane and Steve came to dinner with the caveat that they had to leave early because I kept New York Wall Street hours, and I needed to be sharp the next morning. Ed went to bed.  Steve slumped in his chair. Diane and I chatted into the wee hours of the morning just shy of Wall Street's opening bell. A lifetime of friendship was born. 

I thought of Diane much like an older sister.  We were always roomies on trips to Vegas with girlfriends, or when we went to NYC to celebrate Haley Gaston’s and Jennifer Silver’s 21st birthdays.  Diane taught me practical things like how to Venmo, and it was her idea that I learn to play bridge.  She was a year and 10 months my senior, but she insisted we were only a year apart. I loved to tease her that I found it strange that a math major didn't know to round up.

We were there for Bryan's birth and then Jason's. Diane adored her sons, but she longed for a daughter. After a trip together with our husbands to Italy in 1992, Diane and I both came home with baby girls on board. Haley Gaston was born five days before Jennifer Silver in July 1993.  When I took Haley to visit Jennifer on day 1, Auntie Di was appalled at Haley's royal blue outfit; Jennifer was all pink, with bows to boot.

I went on to have a second daughter, Emily, but was miserable being pregnant without Diane. After a night in which Ed, Diane and Steve indulged in debauchery while we were vacationing together on Martha's Vineyard, I declared that I was never getting pregnant again without her... and I never did.  

My daughters can't remember a time when the Silvers were not part of our lives.  There were Piedmont 4th of Julys, birthday parties, ski trips, graduations, Bar and Bat mitzvahs, Eagle Scout inductions, dance recitals, gymnastic meets.  Haley and I still cringe when we reminisce about one of Jennifer's birthday parties when acrophobic Haley followed me, her acrophobic mom, off of a trapeze.

Our kids grew up, and we remained close.

It was Auntie Di who suggested that Haley apply to the GAP Rotational Management Program (RMP). I thought it was a long shot, but Diane felt that after years working at the company, she knew what the GAP wanted and Haley had it. Diane mentored Haley literally until the day she died when Haley completed Diane's assignment of Haley’s meeting Nancy Green, Diane's friend and the head of GAP’s Athleta division.

Although Diane knew that cancer would cut her time short, she encouraged and even demanded that her own children and others lead life to the fullest. It wasn't until the 2017 New Year that she told her children and eventually her close friends that she was sick. Diane could not burden others. Although her beloved husband Steve bore her secret for 6 years, they made the best of it - traveling the globe in great style. 

Diane and I shared a love of games, a knack for business and a love of family. A few weeks before she died, I went over the plans for my new business with her.  She viewed an educational presentation my partner and I wrote on finances. She asked good questions, made astute comments and encouraged me to pursue my passion to educate and guide women about strategies to be financially secure.

Diane was obsessed with Princess Diana. Like Diana she was taken from us much too early and her loss had an enormous effect on all whom she touched. Diane will not be there for my next presentation, or for so many upcoming events with family and friends. We will all miss her, but take solace that she left a little part of herself in all of us.  We are all the better for it. 

-With love to Steve, Bryan, Jason, and Jennifer,


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