Obituary of Diane Williams
Diane Selwood Williams, of Ilion, went to be with her Lord on January 23, 2019. Diane was a lifelong resident of Ilion and passed away near her vacation home in Florida.
Diane was born on August 4, 1943, the third child of S. Folsom and Helen (nee Graham) Selwood.
She graduated from Ilion High School in 1961 and went on to receive her degree in English from the University of Albany. She started her teaching career in Rotterdam, NY, but Diane soon returned to the Mohawk Valley and began teaching at Herkimer High School, eventually retiring from Ilion High School where she taught 11th Grade Honors English, among other English classes.
She was regarded by her colleagues and her students alike as a highly talented, dedicated, and engaging teacher. To aid her students’ immersion in the literature she was teaching, she was known to become the characters from the stories; a particular favorite was Act IV of Macbeth when she would arrive in the classroom reciting, “double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble” in a high witch’s voice to a group of bewildered and amused teenagers. Over the two decades since she retired, Diane was pleased to hear from many students, thanking her for all she taught them about literature, writing, and other subjects, and sharing with her the positive impact that her teaching had on their future education and lives. A member of the New York State Retired Teachers Association, Diane also enjoyed planning and attending many luncheons with her former colleagues after retiring in 1999.
Her commitment to English literature started early, when she set a childhood goal of reading all the books in the Ilion Public Library. She later served on the board of the library and remained an avid reader throughout her entire life. Her favorite question to friends and family was always, “Have you read anything good recently?” Diane was also a prolific crafts person, honed her talents when her kids were young making elaborate and beautiful birthday cakes, to extensive oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings later in life. She had success selling her artwork online and at various shops, most notably the Artworks cooperative in Old Forge, NY. Her creations live on in homes of friends, family members, and strangers all across the world. She also sewed, knitted, and crocheted beautifully. Diane enjoyed her home, flower gardens, and especially her beloved sons and five grandchildren.
She is survived by Steve Newton, her fiancé, who, for the last years of her life was also her dedicated caregiver; her sons Brian and his wife, Sara, of Kensington, MD, and Michael and his wife, Lauren, of Fairfax Station, VA; her grandchildren, Brady Dylan, Tanner Devin, Leah Rose, Samuel Eoin, and John Philo; her sister Joan Annutto and her husband John of Ilion, NY; her nephew Joseph Annutto and his wife, Margaret, and their family of New Hampshire; niece, her Lisa James (nee Annutto) and her husband, Chris, and their son of Colonie, NY; her sister-in-law Pat Selwood of Penn Yann, NY; her niece Michele Shaar (nee Selwood) and her husband, Tom, and their family of Colorado; and her brother-in-law Lawrence Williams of Indiana. Diane was predeceased by her husband, Dee, who died in 1999 after having been married for 33 very happy years; her parents, Helen and S. Folsom Selwood; and her brother, Samuel Selwood.
Visiting hours will be Thursday, January 31st, 3pm-6pm at Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home in Ilion. A funeral service will be held at Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home on Friday, February 1, at 11:00am. In the spring, Diane will be interned at Armory Hills Cemetery, next to her husband, Dee. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ilion Free Public Library Foundation (78 West Street, Ilion, NY 13357).