In Memory

Diane Kleemann (Fishman)

Diane Kleemann (Fishman)

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08/29/13 11:09 AM #1    

Carlton Thomas Kissner

Diane and I lived at opposite ends of the same block of Roosevelt St. in Dearborn.

Tom Kissner

10/01/14 02:33 PM #2    

Dr George Abbott White

Diane and I became friends at Edsel Ford, continued that friendship at the University of Michigan, and,  through the years, until her untimely death. There were her visits to relatives in Boston (where Ann and I live) and our visits Michigan and Ann Arbor and Farmington Hills (where she and Marvin lived).

It was three blocks from my post-war "bandbox" on Dudley, across Monroe, to Diane's house where, afternoons and weekends, we did homework together and talked about, it seemed, everything under the sun. In the shared confusion of adolesence, I valued her friendship, sensitivity and good sense, and the easy way we could just talk.

Though we would never use the word in those days, she was not only an artist with a variety of impressive skills but an intellectual with a great range of interests. A reader of individuals and events, Diane also read  books carefully, deeply, and often saw things that others passed by. On another level, I regarded her as one of the most creative people I've known, and though she came across as shy during our high school years - much less so later - she was not only thoughtful and caring but had a very powerful analytic mind. I was, and remain, somewhat in awe of her maths skills, remembering how she, Alexis Kiyak (sp) and Joan Lang, seemed always to have not only the answers but the questions during the three years of our Honors math class with Mr Byers. A witty, intense and organized down to his finger tips teacher, Mr Byers knew how to prompt, with humor but not necessarily gentle humor, math dullards like me by comparison with the likes of Joan, Alexis and Diane. Doing maths I usually felt myself in a daze at best, fumbling over the proposition in front of me; the three of them seemed already pages and pages ahead.

At Michigan - before the great good fortune of an early meeting and marriage to her steadfast, encouraging and darkly skeptical husband Marvin (whom my wife always regarded as something of an accept-nothing-on-face-value soulmate) - I had the presence of mind to recruit Diane to an attempt at rescuing the quickly-sinking "Generation," the campus literary/cultural magazine I had been tasked to edit as a Sophomore. Her elegant and immediate sense of good design and a work ethic that would make an 8-day clock run for a year was one of the reasons that rag stayed afloat the year she worked on it, and, indeed, likely helped propel "Generation" into another decade of life.

Over the years it was a great pleasure to watch my friend grow:  As partner to a man her intellectual and practical equal; as a resourceful and patient parent to three lively, engaged and engaging children (well launched and socially productive, in no small part due to Diane's constant effort and sustained partnership with Marvin); as a responsible and sustaining child to aging parents and relatives, and to the larger community, particularly her (adopted) Jewish one; and to continuing creative work as a designer, known and respected beyond the local, and an artist. (If the portraits she had done by the time of her death are any index, more than family and friends have lost some fine works.)

And if it's any index of what her friendship meant -and means - to me, I cannot think of anything vaguely connected to Michigan that does not call her to mind. I could, for example, at this moment imagine her putting her oar in the water in the current attempt to save, intact, the Detroit Institute of Art's collection for the children of Michigan, holdings of enormous public value currently threatened by so-called "bankruptcy" dispersal proceedings that would violate her sense of justice, not merely aesthetics.


George Abbott White

1 October 2014



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