Diane, the eldest child of Cosby and Florence Cottrell, was born in Los Angeles, California. Diane and her younger brother Mel grew up on the Cottrell Avocado and Christmas Ranch located in La Puente, California. As children, they enjoyed riding horses, tending fruit trees and living a country lifestyle. Diane's father, Crosby M. Cottrell, was an Executive for Fairchild Aerial Surveys and her mother, Florence Elizabeth, was a full time wife, mother and managed the day-to-day operations of the ranch.
After graduating from the University of Redlands, she met her future husband, Don Tomkins, a star of the Occidental College football team. They married in 1961 and started their life together in an apartment in Rosemead, before moving to their dream home on the 9th hole of the Glendora Country Club. They both enjoyed golf and socializing at the Club.
Diane and Don also shared a passion for hunting and fishing and ventured to the farthest reaches of Africa, the Arctic tip of Alaska, and everywhere in between! They were active members in the LA chapter of Safari Club International, an organization dedicated to protecting the freedom to hunt while promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. They especially loved their trips to the 'Save Conservancy', an 800,000 acre privately owned wildlife preserve, founded by Roger Whittall in Humani, Zimbabwe.
When they weren't traveling, Diane pursued her passion for teaching children (grades 2-4), a career she enjoyed for over 40 years! With Del Docterman, also a Coolidge 4th grade teacher, they developed a teaching strategy that allowed each teacher "to teach to their strengths". After retiring, Diane returned for many years to teach Art Classes, especially "Van Gogh Sunflowers". Her Students loved her!
Diane loved holidays and was an avid collector of decorations of all sorts, especially Annalee's. She delighted in whimsical displays and looked forward to opportunities to share with others. Diane was a dedicated member of the Glenkirk Church in Glendora and could always be counted on to create special decor for church luncheons.
Diane was an Educator, a collector and a worldwide traveler. She had lots of friends, but her longest and closest friend was Josette Temple who she met in the 2nd Grade. In their retirement they enjoyed outings to the Performing Arts Centre at Citrus College and rarely missed a show!
In 2005, DIane lost Don. It was an especially difficult time for Diane, because she was in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease. Her brother Mel and sister-in-law Jan lived nearby and played a big role in her ability to maintain her independence for as long as possible. THey continued to look out for her for the rest of her life.
In 2016, it became impossible for Diane to continue to live independently, so she moved to Atria Senior Living in San Dimas where she was able to enjoy socializing in a safer environment. As the disease progressed and Diane needed full time care, she moved to La Posada in San Dimas in November 2018. She lived there until she passed away peacefully on January 2, 2020.
Diane was kind and generous, worked hard and believed in helping others. She was fortunate to marry her soul-mate, and together they were able to see and experience places and things that most people only dream about. She now rests in peace, leaving all of us with the memories we have of her and her life, a life well-lived.
Remembering Diane (Cottrell) Tompkins
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