Diane Falkner Goetz
Diane F. Goetz suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on Friday, June 27th, and was pronounced brain dead on Sunday the 29th in the Sharp Grossmont Hospital ICU. Diane was a Gift of Life Donor, with her liver going to a young man in the L.A. area, and her kidneys to two people in their 50’s and 60’s local to San Diego.
Birth and Early Childhood
Diane was born Diane Lynn Falkner in Orlando, Florida on June 23, 1955, and spent her early childhood in the beach town of Indialantic, Florida. She loved walking barefoot on the beach picking up sand dollars. She stored her treasure, as children do, in a cigar box.
Diane and her brother Joe used to collect soda bottles to redeem for a nickel a piece. Once they picked up a bottle they found in a field. The bottle contained a brood of deadly coral snakes and their mother. Joe said he quickly tossed the bottle away and shouted, “They’re coral snakes! They’re coral snakes!”
Diane was a bit of a tom boy, and loved little critters. Tree frogs were ubiquitous in Florida. She described how they would crawl on the screen doors of their house at night. She occasionally crammed frogs into her pockets to smuggle them into the house. Her mother, of course, found their remains while doing the laundry.
She described the town of Indialantic as being cut down the middle by railroad tracks. On one side was the white part of town, the other side was black.
Diane’s memories of elementary school were a total blank. As a child she had a recurring nightmare about elementary school, where she would be locked in the school at night, chased down the hallways by shapes. The shapes were all the childhood colors of the primary grades: red, yellow, blue, green. She hated elementary school.
High School Years
Her feelings about school changed with the academic challenges of junior high and high school. After attending Campus Crusade’s Explo ’72, she was inspired to share her faith. High school in Scottsdale was an eventful time for Diane.
Diane organized a well-attended “Meet Around the Flagpole” morning prayer meeting before school, with upwards of fifty students in attendance. When the principal told her the prayer meeting had to be moved to a less conspicuous location on campus, she went toe to toe with him. She walked into his office and told him it was their legal right to gather there before school. The principal stood down.
She was especially empowered by Jesus Movement events like Explo ’72. When she returned to San Diego after the event, she began carrying “Four Spiritual Laws” booklets wherever she went. She read through the booklet with students on campus and strangers at the beach, leading many people to place their faith in Christ.
College and Marriage
Diane attended Simpson College from 1972 to 1976, graduating with a B.A. in psychology and her teacher credential. She and I met there, fell in love, and were engaged. Following her mother’s wise advice, Diane made sure that her education provided her with a means of supporting herself, and earned her teacher credential within her B.A. Years later we also attended graduate school together. She earned her M.A. in English from San Diego State University in 1992.
We were married on Saturday, August 28, 1976 at Pacific Beach Bible Church, with her dad, Rev. Joseph E. Falkner, performing the ceremony. We waited several years to begin having children. Our daughter Lissette was born February 1, 1979, Melanie was born April 30, 1981, and Jonathan was born March 22, 1985.
A Natural Teacher
Diane was a natural teacher. Her mother says that when she began teaching Sunday school, her opening questions appeared at first to be unrelated to the subject, but were inevitably excellent openings for the discussion.
Later, when she taught in junior and senior high, she often told me that when she entered her room she could instantly “take the temperature of the class.” She knew the mood of the students immediately, a sensitivity I sincerely admired.
Diane taught at San Francisco Christian High School for four years (1976 to 1980). After moving to San Diego, she taught underprivileged students English and history at Southwest Junior High School near the U.S./Mexico border in San Ysidro. It seemed as though every year one of her students died from gang violence or adolescent stunts like dashing across the freeway. She grieved the loss of each of her kids.
Later she taught economics at Bonita Vista High School, having never taken a course in econ. Economics came under the social science umbrella. She was learning the topic just two or three weeks before she had to teach it. It was quite stressful. About half way through her first semester she said, “Ron, I don’t know if I want to teach economics for the rest of my career.” For many years her students have had the highest AP pass rate in the school district.
Diane is survived by her three children, Lissette Ryan, Melanie Potter, and Jonathan Goetz, her three grandchildren, Thomas Potter, Jack Ryan, and Rosie Ryan, her parents, Rev. Joseph and Myrtle Falkner, her brother Joseph E. Falkner, Jr., and me, her husband.
Date: Saturday, July 19, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: First United Methodist Church of El Cajon
772 So. Johnson Avenue
El Cajon, CA 92020
Light refreshments will be served after the service.
Time for sharing your memories will be available during both the memorial service and the refreshment time.
Diane was a woman of laughter and joy. Please come and share her joy and love with us.