Diane Moore Parrett passed away peacefully on January 10, 2022. She was born in 1942 in Wichita, Kansas, the only daughter of George Moore and Rita Gallagher. She spent most of her childhood in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Stories of her early life are tales of a young daughter working to help a single mother, and a cadre of brothers, two older (Roger and Robert) and two younger (Ronald and Richard). She was a nurse and a teacher, and her identity was linked strongly to those professions. Late in life, she was fond of sharing stories of the operating room with the many medical professionals that she encountered. One favorite recalled when a high school counselor told her she needed to go to nursing school to become a nursery schoolteacher. While working as a nurse, a scholarship opportunity led her to finally pursue that teaching degree. She taught first at the Okeechobee School for Boys where she grew to love and appreciate working with kids who needed extra help. She befriended Roberta Armstrong there and started a life-long friendship, eventually following her to Alaska.
Along with her husband and young child, Diane moved to Kaktovik, Alaska in 1976. Diane taught in Kaktovik, Atqasuk, and Utqiagvik (Barrow) for over 30 years. She was a beloved teacher whose students spanned generations. Her favorite grade to teach was Kindergarten, and it was not simply because they were the only students she could claim a height advantage over. In her long career, she influenced young children and their parents, and mentored many young teachers. In 2006, the North Slope Borough celebrated Diane Parrett Day, in honor of her devotion to the students of the North Slope.
Even after retiring, teaching remained important to her. She returned after retirement to provide long-term substitute relief in Nuiqsut and Barrow and volunteered at schools in Whittier and then Fairbanks until the end of her life.
After trying a few different retirement locations, she moved to Fairbanks in 2012 to be nearer to her son Lincoln and his family. She was an integral part of her grandson Espen’s early life. The pair could be seen traveling all over Fairbanks together, and nurses, accountants, doctors, cashiers, waitresses, store managers and librarians and many others would greet them with enthusiasm and love.
Her life was a life of generosity. A generosity of spirit, of the material things that people needed, and of words. Many a time these things were freely given at times when she had little to share. Many people come to the end of their lives carrying doubts about the life they lived and what the afterlife might hold. This was not a concern for this woman. She lived a good life, she helped people, and she made the world a better place. There was no doubt.
She was always thankful for people in communities across the North Slope who helped care for a single mother and young son. The community of Kaktovik was particularly dear to her and sheltered and cared for her during very difficult times.
Diane is survived by son Lincoln, daughter-in-law Julie Parrett and grandson Espen, along with brothers Roger, Robert, Ronald and Richard, and a suite of in-laws, nieces, and nephews. Her sister-in-law Lynn was deeply cherished. She is also survived by close family friends, and the surviving family of John and Roberta Armstrong, especially Annie, Robert, Morganne and Garrett. She is fondly remembered by friends with whom she taught with all over the North Slope.
The family would like to extend our gratitude and support to staff and volunteers at Fairbanks Memorial Hospice. The work you do is so important. We would also like to thank the Vonnahme family for their support and kindness.
Donations to organizations that help women and children that are the victims of domestic violence would honor this wonderful woman, and her life of generosity, bravery and perseverance. The family will honor her memory by contributing to efforts to replace artwork that burned in the Kaktovik school fire in 2020.
The family is planning to hold a memorial and celebration of life on May 14th, 2022 in Fairbanks. Please contact the family for more information.
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