Diann (Petersen) Spear

August 13, 1945


May 29, 2021

Diann (Petersen) Spear

August 13, 1945


May 29, 2021

Diann (Petersen) Spear, born August 13, 1945, passed away peacefully at her home in Billings, on Saturday, May 29, 2021. Diann was born to Arthur and Evelyn Petersen of Skokie, IL. Her early childhood was spent in Skokie living in the house that her grandparents built. When she entered high school, her family moved to Woodstock, IL, where she made many lifelong friends including the “Fab 7.”

Diann went to college at Miami University of Ohio, where she majored in sociology. She married right out of college and started a family, all the while volunteering and being an activist for the Women’s Liberation Movement and starting a Montessori preschool when her daughter needed a preschool to attend and she couldn’t find one she liked.

Diann lived in Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri and, in 1977, finally settled in Montana. While in Montana, she enjoyed her time working as a librarian and certified legal assistant for years. Finally, in her 50s, Diann got to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a social worker. Dropping everything, she made the courageous decision to reenroll in school to get her master’s degree in social work. She moved to Eastern Washington and spent two years there, graduating with a 4.0. Then she started working her dream jobs with people from all walks of life including teens in crisis, the elderly, and the mentally ill. She retired as a social worker and therapist from the Billings Clinic in 2016. Even while retired, though, she couldn’t walk away from the dream of helping others, and continued to work Fridays and filling in for vacation time at the clinic until COVID forced her to fully retire in 2020.

Diann was a gatherer of people. She always made people feel welcome and accepted at all times. Her positivity and warmth made her someone people wanted to be around. Her friends remember her as the hub of the wheel in every situation. She had many different groups of friends and was amazing at connecting people together. She loved hosting meals and gatherings at her home and gardens as often as possible, creating any reason she could to hold a gathering: pumpkin carving, New Year’s Eve, Oscar night, teas and general get-togethers.

Other favorite things to do included clothes shopping, camping, gardening and, of course, traveling. Her travels took her all over the world, including places like China, Ireland, England, Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico and Spain. Her next travel goal was to visit Greece. Wherever she went, she always picked up trinkets and memorabilia, and stones or pebbles. She would put her stones in a basket by her bed which she called her “memory basket” to remind her of her travels. She couldn’t tell you what kind of rocks she had picked up, but she could tell you all about where they came from and what she experienced.

She left us as she would have wanted. Still being able to work in her yard and leaving her house feet first, toes in the air.

In tribute, we will always make sure our mirrors are clean for you and our gardens are weeded. We love you and will miss you terribly.

She is survived by her brother, Grant (Donna) Petersen and her three nephews; her daughters, Eryka LaNier and Paige (Richard) Miller; two granddaughters, Alyxandra Miller and Abigail (Joe) Viviano; and many friends too numerous to list.

Service will be held on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at her home at 2419 Rancho Rd. Billings MT at 11:00 am with a light brunch to follow. Garden party attire preferred. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: Angela’s Piazza, 420 Grands Ave., Billings, Mt 59102.

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7 thoughts on “Diann (Petersen) Spear”

  1. Lottie Blades Lohmann

    Diann was quite a woman and for whom I had great respect. She was a strong woman and a caring woman. You both have my deepest sympathy. Paige and Eryka. She left you far too soon, but as you said in her obituary, with her toes pointed up and straight out the door. Exactly as she would have wished.

    Thinking of you
    Lottie Blades Lohmann

  2. So sorry for your loss. Haven’t see Diann for a while but enjoyed working with her at Holland & Hart for many year.

  3. Dian and I went to Eastern Montana College years ago. We were the non-traditional students. We were good friends and navigated the experience together. My deepest sympathies to Paige and Eryka.

  4. Karen Anderson-Miller

    Diann was a dear friend and mentor. We go back to my first days as a paralegal at the Crowley Law Firm, and enjoyed many good times together. We lost touch when our lives took different turns, but she was never forgotten. While getting my hands dirty in the garden the other day, I thought of her. She loved getting hr hands dirty. I will miss her.

  5. Bill and Carol Bronson

    We are sorry to hear of Diann’s passing! Paige and Eryka, we worked with Diann years ago and she was a wonderful friend. My bridal shower was even at her house. Thinking of you all!

  6. Eryka, Paige and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. We had a great time working at the BC Psych Center. She was a loving, compassionate and joyful person. She will be missed. My deepest sympathy.

  7. deborah p o'malley

    What can I say…well, Diann’s daddy was my daddy’s older brother which, in turn ,made her my first cousin. Out of 5 cousins, we were the only girls. Our families didn’t run in the same social circles, but blood proved to be thicker than water ,nevertheless. Upon hearing that Diann died, my heart and stomach jumped and I felt a loss. To feel tears well up and to feel this loss may seen strange to some people because we hadn’t seen each other since her daddy’s own death , so very long ago. But over the years, we kept in touch via cards and letters. Facebook chats or shares tickled our funny bones! At times, in letters we shared thoughts never spoken concerning our family connections, the whys, wishes and memories. To me, she was my older cousin who was blond and beautiful. I was the youngest cousin, the tom boy, the one being told by others to be more lady-like…but not by Diann. She encouraged and included me. While our family get togethers were not many, she was sweet and had a great inclusive smile. Diann has gifted her family with a legacy of strength, respect of individualism and love. My deepest condolences to her children and family- and to Grant and his family. I will add her to my old lady thoughts as I tend to my own flower and vegetable gardens!

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