Obituary: Diane F. Goetz

Diane Falkner Goetz

Diane Goetz, taken 6/25/2014, two days before the hemorrhage.

Diane 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.

Memorial Service

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.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
This entry was posted in Obituary. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Obituary: Diane F. Goetz

  1. Ron, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.


  2. robw77 says:

    So very sorry for your loss, Ron. Deepest prayers and well wishes going out to you and your family.


  3. Ron Grantz says:

    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss.


  4. Patti Boman says:

    Beautifully written, thanks for sharing a bit about your beautiful wife.


  5. smstrouse says:

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss. I pray that you find all the support and love you and your family need at this sad time.


  6. says:

    Dear Ron, A beautiful tribute to your wife. Thanks for sharing so much of your life and thought with us. Blessings, Ed Hansen


  7. Colin Stewart says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful person.


  8. triciahh says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. Tricia “I want to be a comfort to my friends in tragedy. And I want to be able to celebrate with them in triumph. And for all the times in between, I just want to be able to look them in the eye.” Josh Lyman


  9. Stephen Argent says:

    Such a sad time for you and your family but be certain of the prayers of your friends and followers and most of all be aware of our loving God who understands and stands alongside


  10. Very sorry to read of your loss and pray that God is comforting you as only He can.


  11. Maureen Deyo says:

    My heart aches for you, she sounds so lovely and loved. You and your family are in my prayers.


  12. Roy Waidler says:

    So sorry to hear of your tragic loss, Ron. You’ve given many of us in the LGBT spectrum great comfort by way of your wisdom and scholarship and by the sound of your obituary you had a great deal of inspiration and comfort from Diane. Right now I would imagine there is no real soothing of your sorrows; but you two will be together again down the road.


  13. Jimmie Lee says:

    My condolences, Ron.


  14. Suzi says:

    So very sorry to read of the tragic loss of your dear Diane.


  15. A beautiful tribute to a life well lived. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Prayers are being offered up for you and your family during this time of bereavement. From the Book of Common Prayer:

    Grant, O Lord, to all who are bereaved the spirit of faith and
    courage, that they may have strength to meet the days to
    come with steadfastness and patience; not sorrowing as those
    without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great
    goodness, and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with
    those they love. And this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ
    our Savior. Amen.

    Almighty God, Father of mercies and giver of comfort: Deal
    graciously, we pray, with all who mourn; that, casting all
    their care on you, they may know the consolation of your
    love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


  16. Rosie says:

    Ron – our deepest sympathies to you and your family.


  17. thayes9217 says:

    Ron, we share in your sorrow and also in the joy that you had nearly 38 years with Diane as husband and wife. Those of us who cannot attend the memorial will be there in spirit to support you and your family. Peace.


  18. Elizabeth Phipps says:

    Ron, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Praying for you and your family.


  19. Libby Bryson says:

    So sorry for your loss Ron. She sounds like a wonderful woman, mother and wife. I will be thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.


  20. xnlover says:

    In this time of loss, the words of John Wimber’s “Spirit Song” come to mind:

    O let the Son of God enfold you
    With His Spirit and His love
    Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul
    O let Him have the things that hold you
    And His Spirit like a dove
    Will descend upon your life and make you whole

    Jesus, O Jesus
    Come and fill Your lambs
    Jesus, O Jesus
    Come and fill Your lambs

    O come and sing this song with gladness
    As your hearts are filled with joy
    Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name
    O give Him all your tears and sadness
    Give Him all your years of pain
    And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name

    May you and your family find comfort in this time of loss, and may the celebration of Diane’s life never end.
    Doug Asbury


  21. Sherry Cohen-Richards says:

    Your “Writer Ron hat” was certainly evident in the obituary. The details of Diane’s life were very interesting. Condolences to all of you.


  22. Duncan Beach says:

    Pastor, in this time of loss, I offer my sincere condolences.


  23. nancy nolan says:

    Wish we could be there! I remember Diane’s joy in going to womens retreats; serving our Lord & in her children. You are in our hearts & prayers. Nancy & Mike in Alabama


  24. hannah says:

    So sorry for your loss. She was such a wonderful teacher and human.


  25. RIP Diane Goetz 😦 , you took every day as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of your students and you had so many more years ahead of you to keep on making a difference, it makes me really sad to know you have passed away. You were one of the best teachers I have ever had, Thank you!


  26. Edward says:

    To the Family and Friends of Diane Falkner Goetz,

    I too share your sadness, yet I find joy in her memory. I will never forget her inspiring words and joyful laugh. She was very kind to me. A true kindness that I have not felt from many in my life. I wasn’t her best student but she inspired me to believe in myself. For that I am truly grateful. Diane will be missed and not forgotten.

    With my deepest sympathy,



  27. Bonnie Wakefield says:

    I taught with Diane at Bonita Vista HIgh until my retirement in 2011. She and I were on textbook adoption committees and bonded over being given surprise subject matter just weeks before we were to teach it. We often ate lunch together and laughed about all kinds of ridiculous things. Diane was so warm and caring, she will be missed.


  28. smeraaashton says:

    So sorry to hear of your sudden loss! Prayers for you and your family!


  29. Rick Bova says:

    Ron, though I never met you nor Diane, I know Jonathan and had the opportunity to meet Melanie. “By their fruit you should know them”. I am sure Diane must have been a wonderful person and inspiration to all. My condolences.


  30. Cheri Hanshaw says:

    Dear Ron & Family,
    I remember the Sunday, when my daughter, Nancy and I first met Diane and you at P.B. Bible Church, I had forgotten to turn my clocks up night before, we were still new to San Diego and I wanted to find a church for us to attend…God lead us to P.B.B.C. that spring day back in 1980, where you lead the adult Sunday School class; after which you and Diane invited us to your home, where we felt so welcome. I reflect fondly to that day, and the years we were neighbors and friends. I regret not keeping in touch over the years after we moved back east, but I know we’ll all be reunited again someday!
    We are sad to hear of Diane’ s passing, she was a blessing to all who met her, her faith was inspiring, her laughter was contagious and her heart was so giving; she will be missed!


    • Ron Goetz says:

      Hi Cheri,

      Sorry for taking so long to reply. I haven’t been on the blog much recently.

      I remember living in the same complex, and having you and your daughter over so often. And the assistance I rendered when Nancy had a problem with her pet guinea pig! It’s so good to hear from you. We’ll have to keep in touch!



  31. Korrine says:


    I haven’t visited your blog in months, so I’m just learning of your wife’s passing.

    Words can’t express the extend of my condolence wishes for you. People will tell you time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t. Not really. Over time, the pain of your grief will dull from the intensity it had initially to more of an ache, but it will always be there to an extent.

    Grief also has a way of blindsiding you when you least expect it. A fragrance, a song, a stranger’s laugh – and suddenly you will find yourself in tears.

    Be gentle with yourself. It’s ok to not have all the pieces put back together in any kind of timeline.

    Many prayers for comfort for you, brother in Christ.


    • Ron Goetz says:

      Thank you for your understanding words, Korrine. I was not always a good husband, and initially I dealt with a lot of remorse. That has begun to lessen, but it is never too far from the surface. She deserved better. Right now the main thing is to focus on our children and grandchildren, which is what she would have wanted. Thanks again.


So what are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s