Dianne Cook Uzdawinis
I celebrate the life and love of my beloved wife Dianne.
Dianne was born in New York City on March 13, 1948. She was raised in a loving extended Irish family comprised of her mother Mary, aunts Helen, Margie, and Emily; uncles Joe, Dave and grandparents. She was introduced to the finest family Italian restaurants that New York had to offer by the time she was 2. By 3 years of age, she had her own “victrola” and many classical records, mostly Mozart, and Italian operas. By 4 she could sing along with many of the great Italian opera singers, and did, until she wore out the records.
The family moved to Staten Island and she graduated in 1965 from St. John the Baptist Academy for Girls. Dianne became fluent in French and she contemplated a career as an interpreter at the United Nations. However, she answered a call from the Lord and entered the convent of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist where she spent five years in novitiate, schooling and teaching in a catholic school in the Borough of Manhattan. After her temporary vows expired, she left the convent and enrolled in the Communication Disorders program at the State University of New York at Buffalo. There she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology. It was while at the University that she met Philip, her husband-to-be.
After completing her course work, Dianne embarked on a year of clinical practicum at St. Luke’s Hospital and Head Trauma Unit in Fargo, North Dakota. Philip visited her twice, enduring two incredible blizzards in Fargo. They we married at a private family ceremony in Fargo (after the spring thaw) on June 18,1978. They then moved to Albuquerque where Philip began his doctoral studies at the University of New Mexico and Dianne launched her career as a speech pathologist.
For the next 42 years Dianne practiced speech rehab techniques in APS schools, acute care hospitals, skilled nursing homes and native American clinics. Here in New Mexico, she brought Speech Pathology into the circle of rehabilitation therapies for four national companies stretching from New Mexico to West Texas, Arizona, and southern Colorado. Her last position was as rehab director/speech therapist for 12 years at a facility in Albuquerque.
Professional rehabilitation and administration were not her only interests in life. Dianne sang with the choir of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque for over 35 years. She was a diligent and powerful soprano and eventually became the main cantor for the choir at church masses and musical celebrations. Dianne loved to sing liturgical music.
There was one other special love that so attracted her. She loved Golden Retriever puppies and dogs, their care, health and longevity of life. Dianne was one of the first members of the Rio Grande Valley Golden Retriever Club here in Albuquerque. Her devotion to the wellbeing of this special breed of dogs was known throughout New Mexico, the southwest, and nationally to the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA). During her terms as local club president, she constantly tried to recruit new members for club membership. Her constant motto to members was: “Your dogs are not just companions. Through training, help them do what they were bred to do”; confirmation, retrieving birds, obedience competition, tracking, and agility. Dianne received permission from the American Kennel Club and the Golden Retriever Club of America for the local club to sponsor a yearly specialty confirmation show for Goldens. These shows were so successful that the small club was invited to hold the 2001 Golden Retriever National Specialty. Success for that three year project gave the Rio Grande Valley Golden Retriever Club the national attention and recognition that Dianne had sought for so many years.
Dianne touched the lives of so many people with goodness, joy and love. But the rheumatoid arthritis took its toll on her body and she died at home with hospice on February 12, 2021.
Dianne will be missed by all who knew her; her life long friends, professional associates, clients and their families, parishioners, golden enthusiasts, and finally by me her husband. God bless you Dianne (Mr. Baggins). May your guardian angel bring you to rest in God’s peace and as you enter into heaven, may you be surrounded by your own 12 Goldens. I hope and pray that they don’t all bark at once!
A Rosary will be recited at 9:00 am on Friday, February 26, 2021 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 619 Copper Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102. The Memorial Mass to follow at 10:00 am.
Private Inurnment will follow at Gate Of Heaven Cemetery.
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