Diane Jane Smith, born June 27, 1945 in Detroit, Michigan to Bruno and Jane (nee: Ruszczycki) Kwiatkowski, died peacefully at her home on November 18, 2020 at age 75 after complications with dementia.
Diane grew up in Hamtramck where she attended grade school at St. Bartholomew’s before graduating from St. Florian’s High School. Her mom was one of four Polish sisters, so she grew up with numerous first cousins many of whom became like sisters, including Kay, Nancy, Linda, Camille and Christina. It was during a fateful trip to Mardi Gras with her cousin Kay in February 1970 that she would meet the love of her life, Frank. Their long-distance courtship was short and sweet and by that fall, they were married with Frank moving from Pennsylvania to join Diane and her large extended Polish family in Michigan.
Diane and Frank had nothing short of an amazing marriage built on love, trust, and independence sprinkled with a lot of fun. Their early years were centered on raising a family and providing a wonderful household for their children, Tim and Carie. Diane was a wonderful cook and hosted a large Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family for years where her chocolate pie was always the hit of the holiday. Diane also became a sports enthusiast, whether she intended to or not, on account of her children playing multiple youth sports as well as her and Frank’s active involvement with the burgeoning University of Detroit basketball program in the 1970’s. Each of these activities led to meaningful and lifelong friendships that Diane cherished throughout her life.
Diane also loved to travel. Early family vacations were spent on east coast beaches, Disney World, Epcot and other Florida venues, and an infamous road trip to Kentucky and Tennessee where the Smith clan found their way back to Michigan with a car load of cowboy hats and boots that were ultimately never really worn. Once her children were raised, Diane continued traveling, always with Frank but also on occasion with extended family and friends, including trips to Hawaii, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, Disney World with her young granddaughter, Las Vegas and San Francisco with friends, and a return trip to New Orleans where it all began for her and Frank. Diane also loved Marco Island, FL where she and Frank spent a month every March for 20 years once they retired.
In addition to be a loving wife and amazing mother, Diane was a doting “nana” to her one and only granddaughter, Sienna. From the day Sienna was born, Nana was always very loving and giving of her time watching Sienna multiple times a week until she started school full-time. Playtime with Nana included dancing to Mickey Mouse Playhouse, alternately serving as a cashier or customer during grocery store play, or just spending time together at one of the numerous parks or zoos they would frequent together along with Grampy. Nana and Sienna also enjoyed baking together, especially during Christmas time when they would whip up the most delicious cookies.
Diane is survived by her loving husband of 50 years, Frank, children, Tim (Ivana) and Carie, granddaughter, Sienna, brother, Henry (Hank) Kwiatkowski and numerous extended family members and lifelong friends. She was a devout Catholic and proud, longtime member of the St. Isidore parish in Macomb, MI.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Diane’s care givers, Faye Sparks and Helen Pugh, as well as neighbors Joe and Toni Taormina and Aaron Motyl and Kristen Sorenson, each of who in their own individual and special way lent support and compassion to Diane and the rest of her family especially over the last few weeks of her life.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Isidore Catholic Church, 18201 23 Mile Road, Macomb, MI 48042, on Saturday, November 28, 2020 [Public viewing 9:15 AM/Mass 10:00 AM].
The family asks that any memorial contributions be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan. https://www.alz.org/gmc
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Lying in state at 9:15 AM until time of funeral mass at 10 AM.
Saint Isadore Catholic Church (map)
18201 23 Mile Rd
Macomb MI 4848042