Diane Faye Urey was born on September 10, 1952, to Margaret Wedel Urey and Bruce C. Urey in Portland, Oregon. When she was eight years old, her family moved to Salem, Oregon, where she grew up. After graduating from South Salem High School (1970), Diane attended University of Oregon where she graduated with honors with a BA (1974) in Romance Languages. From there, Diane received a fellowship to Johns Hopkins and subsequently earned a PhD (1977) in Romance Languages. Diane truly loved teaching, beginning her career at the University of Puget Sound, then at Fontbonne College in St. Louis, where she Chaired the English Department. Her career then took her to Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, where she flourished for some thirty years as Distinguished University Professor and a Professor of Spanish, as well as the Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages. Diane was a profoundly successful teacher, beloved by her students with many staying in touch over the years.
An internationally celebrated scholar, Diane wrote three books on Pérez Galdós – widely regarded as the most acclaimed Spanish novelist of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Diane was fluent in Spanish and read and spoke in Italian, French, Catalan, German and Portuguese. She traveled the world researching and lecturing, including being the key speaker at the Pérez Galdós Lecture (2003) at the University of Sheffield, England, the Plenary Speaker at the Galdós Congress in Las Palmas, Spain (2009), and various other speaking engagements. Along with her books, Diane wrote a copious number of academic articles, book chapters, and book reviews published both in the United States and abroad. After retiring from Illinois State University, Diane and her husband James returned to Oregon where she pursued her passions of downhill skiing, fishing and fossil digging. Diane’s family, dear friends and students from over the years meant so much to her, and she cherished the times spent together.
She is survived by her four sons, Matthew A. Johnston-Urey, Colorado, Benjamin G. Johnston-Urey, Wisconsin, Lucas Schwartz, Kentucky, and Chris Schwartz, Texas, and six grandchildren, Madelyn, Annalise, Ari & Leo Johnston-Urey, and KayLynn & Bryleigh Schwartz, her two sisters, Janice Meissner and Elizabeth Denault, and several nieces. Her husband, James Schwartz, still resides in Newport, Oregon. Though she is gone too soon, Diane’s many accomplishments are enough to fill several lifetimes, and her passions, academic pursuits, and the great love she shared among family and friends, live on in all who knew her.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Newport Oregon
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Diane F Urey, please visit our floral store.