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1939 Dianne 2024

Dianne Elizabeth Huffman

July 29, 1939 — March 22, 2024

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Dianne Elizabeth Huffman passed away peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on March 22, 2024. She was 84 years old. She was born July 29, 1939, to Inez (nee Robinson) and Dr. Edwin L. Longpre. Dianne grew up near Bay City, Michigan, the youngest of four children: Dr. Keith Longpre, Suzanne Longpre Martin, and William Longpre. While growing up, Dianne loved spending time working with her father at his dental practice. It was there she learned the skills of what would become her trade. She graduated from Bay City Central High school in 1957, then attended Bay City Junior College, followed by Michigan State University. In 1960, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she met her husband of 45 years, John “Jack” Huffman. They had three beloved daughters, Jacqueline, Constance, and Suzanne, and two beautiful grandchildren, Ethan and Bailey Barrett. Friends, family, and her pets were central to Dianne’s life. She was a loyal, gracious, loving, kind, and generous spirit. She had a beautiful mix of class, style, and humor. We will all dearly miss our sweet Dianne.

Growing up as the youngest of the Longpre children often left Dianne alone with her parents during the summer as they cruised the shores of Lake Michigan from Bay City up to Petoskey and Harbor Springs for weeks at a time. The summers on the boat, along with her parents, are where she learned to truly appreciate quiet and solitude. The copious books she read to keep herself occupied would become her pastime. On occasion, Ed and Inez would allow her to bring a friend on these adventures.

When she was a young girl, Dianne encountered one of her life’s biggest challenges – she was hit in the eye by a rock from a slingshot. After many surgeries, they were able to save her eye, but she was to lose her vision in her right eye. It was an event that would impact her ability to further her formal education. She persevered and learned how to accept life’s challenges with poise, humor, and a smile. “It is what it is,” she would say, acknowledging her plight. This attitude of grace and acceptance served her well, as she would later encounter other physical challenges.

Dianne had a beautiful smile, a sweet demeanor, and an adventurous independent spirit. In 1960, she packed her bags and moved by herself to Ann Arbor, Michigan. She began to work as a secretary where she proudly claimed she could type 100 words a minute. Fortuitously, Dianne met her future husband during this time, John “Jack” Huffman. After a whirlwind romance, they married on September 30, 1961, at Saint Boniface Catholic Church in Bay City, Michigan. Jack whisked Diane off to a beautiful fall color honeymoon in Canada where he had rented a cozy, but chilly, log cabin.

On December 17, 1962, they welcomed their first of three daughters, auburn-haired Jacqueline. They began their life together in East Lansing where Jack worked for IBM and Dianne created a loving home life and “ran the show.” On March 1, 1964, they welcomed their second beautiful red-haired daughter, Constance. They later moved to Big Rapids, Michigan, for a short stint while Jack continued his work for IBM in the early computer days. Dianne, up for the adventure, moved once again, this time to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they planted their roots on Cherry Street. Their neighbors, Chris and John, and Sonny and Roxy, welcomed them with morning coffee and a pancake breakfast. Times were fun on Cherry Street with that crew. Inspired by Chris and John’s new baby daughter, Anna, and prior to the summer of love, October 29, 1969, they welcomed their third daughter, strawberry blonde-haired Suzanne.

The 1970’s were a fun time for Dianne. Using her artistic skills, she designed and oversaw the details of the home they had built in Portage, Michigan. The living room was created for her baby grand piano where she continued with her childhood love, playing classical music. Her creativity was endless: she sewed clothes for each of her daughters and made sure their bedroom curtains, lamp shades, and bedspreads all matched; she made their Raggedy Ann and Andy Dolls; pressed flower art images; and loved developing new recipes, all the while finding a way to do so economically. When it was time for a break in her busy day, you would often find Dianne curled up on the couch or on the back porch sitting in her white wicker chair with a cup of coffee readings her favorite romance novel or a good mystery. When time allowed, she was always up for a round of golf, a match of tennis, a game of bridge, or a progressive party with the neighbors that were a highlight.

Unfortunately, the 70’s did not end without a hitch. Dianne kept experiencing a sharp pain in her wrist—maybe it was too much tennis? After numerous doctor visits, nothing could be found. The story goes that the doctors told her it was in her head. She did not listen to them and insisted they do further testing. Finally, it was discovered she had cancer in the bone of her wrist. She was told they needed to go in for surgery and it was possible she may awaken without her arm. Dianne took the news with her special blend of grace and trust: “It will be fine, and I will be fine, with or without an arm.” The doctors removed a portion of her wrist bone and replaced it with part of her shinbone. Other than several scars, she was back to herself playing tennis and golf in no time.

Throughout Dianne’s 40’s and 50’s, she joined Jack as he moved around for his work several more times throughout Michigan to Saginaw, Rochester, and back, again, to Kalamazoo—she picked the right adventurous guy! Using the skills she learned working for her father’s dental practice, and motivated to get her three daughters off to college so they could become self-sufficient, independent women, she began what would be a twenty-year career in the field of dentistry. While living in Saginaw, she began her first paid dental practice job where she met her co-worker, Rita, who became a life-long dear friend, joined in common by their faith, sense of fun, and silly antics.

Here is a little ditty about Jack and Dianne (they did love that song, and it was turned up every time it came on the radio). One of the most exciting chapters in their lives was the marriage of their daughter, Jacqueline, to Tim Barrett, which led to the birth of their two beautiful grandchildren, Ethan and Bailey. Putt-putt golf began as soon as each could stand, golf clubs were purchased by two years old, and they started their first official lessons by five.

The golden years were fun as the adventures continued: they traveled abroad; went on a cruise now and again; spent their time with their friends, Jerry and Phyllis, playing their hand at the casino; and babysat their grandchildren. It was her golden years when her second bought of cancer arrived – Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This time, she worked with Dr. Block of the Block Center for Integrated Medicine. She was determined she was going to heal from the cancer with an integrated approach using chemotherapy, radiation, diet/nutrition, and energy work. The approach was successful, and she thrived for many more years, thanks to what she would call “the best doctor she ever had.” Even as her memory declined, she would still sing Dr. Block’s praises with the utmost adoration.

As time went on, Dianne relished her time with her girlfriends. Living in their senior community, she and her friends would go for long walks on the celery flat trail, and they enjoyed sharing meals together, playing games, quilting, knitting, shopping, and just all-around silliness. Once in a while, her family would notice something was amiss, like the time she forgot to put the tuna in the tuna casserole. We noticed she could no longer balance her checkbook or spell a particular word—all the things she would and could always do with such ease now had become a chore. We all knew her memory was declining. In 2018, she was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s, the unfortunate fate of both her brother and father. Through it all, she always had a smile on her face, and a grateful heart for her family, friends, and kind loving people who cared for her. We will all deeply miss our sweet, dear Dianne.

Dianne is survived by her daughters, Jacqueline Barrett (former son-in-law, Tim), Constance Huffman, Suzanne Huffman-Chamberlin (Robert); grandchildren, Ethan Barrett and Bailey Barrett; brother, William Longpre; nephews, Christopher Martin, Mark Bakke, Mark Longpre; nieces, Susan Bakke, Samantha Nelson, Lynn Longpre, Kathy Talaga (Jerry), Anne (Brian) Mink, and Michelle Smith. Join us for a celebration of Dianne’s life at Langeland Funeral Home, 3926 South 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, on Saturday July 27, 2024, from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm.

A special thank you to the staff at Centrica Care Navigators and to the Rose Arbor caregivers. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for a donation to Alzheimer’s Association, Centrica Care Navigators, or the Portage Senior Center.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dianne Elizabeth Huffman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 27, 2024

11:00am - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel

3926 South 9th Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

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