Diane Messig Stuart was born on a cold March Day in Orange, New Jersey to Frank John Messig and Margaret Wilmerton Jones Messig. She was their second, and youngest daughter.
She grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey and enjoyed a childhood that would have been a great back drop for a Norman Rockwell painting. The gas street lights were lite every night by a gentleman like clockwork. Her mother’s family lived nearby and were active in her youth and time spent with them brought many happy memories. Annual Christmas trips to New York City to see the Rockettes was one of her favorite memories.
She graduated Glen Ridge High School in 1959 and started at Penn State University where she debated between majoring in Floriculture or English. Chemistry was the deciding She graduated with a degree in English with a teaching certificate. While at Penn State she was a member of Phi Mu Sorority. It was while at Penn State she met an eccentric yet charming character named William Berton “Bill” Stuart who became her husband on June 19, 1965 in a service that was held at Christ Episcopal Church in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
After their wedding the couple moved to North Carolina where Bill attended Duke University and Diane attended North Carolina State University working towards a degree in Radio, Televisión and Motion Pictures. While working on her Masters Degree; she also got her first years of teaching experience in North Carolina. The stories that came with both the adventures of teaching adolescents and the culture shock of coming South were topics that quickly became the making of legends that she retold over and over again.
After Bill completed his Master’s Degree at Duke University they relocated to Lilburn, Georgia and both worked in Atlanta. Bill for the Georgia Extension Service and Diane as a Consultant for the State Board of Education. It was while living in Georgia that Diane gave birth to their three children Mary Margaret, John and William.
By 1974 Diane and her young family ventured a bit north and settled in Blacksburg, Virginia. Bill began working on his Doctorate at Virginia Tech and Diane undertook the job of being a fulltime, at home mother and wife at a time when so many women were becoming working moms. Life for Diane became filled with Band-Aids and bruises; school volunteering, homework enforcer and parental bad guy. She also became her family’s hero by keeping all three of the kids alive and making sure that she did everything she could to help them become the men and woman that she and Bill were so proud of.
As the kids aged, she became very active in the Virginia Mental Health Association, New River Valley Mothers of Twins, Virginia Tech Faculty Wives, The American Association of University Woman, and the Virginia Tech Antiques Group and the International Student Organization. She voluntarily taught English as a Second Language to many of the families of incoming international students. She also substitute taught students with special needs at Ash Tree in Christiansburg, Virginia. And she volunteered with the Montgomery County School System helping tutor children with their reading and English skills.
In 1999, Bill and Diane moved from Blacksburg, Virginia to Starkville, Mississippi. In Starkville Diane continued her membership in American Association of University Woman, and became involved in various knitting groups, Newcomers Club, Dine Around, Christian Woman’s Job Corps, the Golden Triangle Celts and tutored English and reading. In the last year, with limited mobility and failing health, Diane enjoyed traveling around Starkville and making donations to the various stand-alone food pantries and Free Library stands around Starkville.
In 2013, she lost Bill, her husband of 48 years. In 2019, she lost her youngest son William. She is survived by her sister Joan Messig of Crossville, Tennessee. A daughter Mary Margaret Stuart Barrentine and her husband, Thomas Barrentine, of Starkville. Son John Stuart and his wife Lauren English of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Granddaughter Kristy Ann Barrentine Brown, Great Grandson and best buddy Phoenyx Paul Brown of Starkville, Mississippi. Liza Young of Sterling, Virginia. Sister-in-law Nancy Poust and her Husband Charlie of State College, Pennsylvania. Brother-in-law Robert “Bob” Stuart and his wife Lori of Falls Creek, Pennsylvania. A niece Caroline Francis and her husband Tom and daughters Sara and Anna, of Springboro, Ohio. A nephew Robert Poust and Shannon Rice and son Anthony and daughter Ellianna of Tyrone, Pennsylvania. Robert Barrentine, his wife Tina and their children Robert Jr and his wife Kayla, Samantha, Maylissa and Austin and granddaughter Katerina, of Tuscon, Arizona.
Funeral Services will be held October 9, 2021 at Carlson-Shugarts Funeral Home in Brockway, Pennsylvania. The viewing will start at 11 am and the funeral service will begin at noon. Interment will be in Beechwoods Cemetery, Falls Creek, Pennsylvania next to her husband Bill and near her son Will. A gathering will be held in her memory in Starkville, Mississippi on a date that is yet to be determined.
Donations in her memory can be made to Starkville Strong, The J.L. King Center in Starkville, The Christian Woman’s Job Corps and to the American Association of University Women.
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