Diane G. Millstein passed away on September 25, 2010, after a prolonged illness, on her own terms, just as she had lived throughout a full life of family and career. A short obituary is hardly sufficient, but something must be said, beyond acknowledging the love, respect and affection of her husband, children, grandchildren, friends, and the many lives she touched in her professional career.
From boarding and public schools, and a challenging family background, she found her stride at NYU as a national and international fencing champion. Her success in this sport gave her the self confidence that would become the mainspring for the pioneering which was the hallmark of many of her endeavors. At 15 years of age, Diane met Ira who, after years of courtship, became her husband and lifelong partner. Following a brief stay in New York and Washington, DC in the early years of their marriage, she found great joy in their moving to Westchester County where they raised a son James, and daughter Elizabeth.
Soon thereafter, Diane headed to Columbia University for a Masters in City Planning, graduating and ultimately becoming the City Planner for Greenwich, Conn. Learning the intricacies of local government in city planning, she struck out on her own to become a land developer and build residential town homes with the support of family and friends. Diane was likely the first woman to vigorously contest zoning boards, other government agencies and the like, don a hard hat and actually direct all activities on a building site. Success quickly followed with her signature de-attached town homes (then a new concept for the era and locus) in Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle. She later branched out and joined a real estate partnership which managed shopping centers across the country. Her business gains provided her the opportunity to be a generous, and most often anonymous, philanthropist to large and small causes, many of which championed women’s and children’s issues.
An athlete throughout her life, she was an avid tennis player for Quaker Ridge Golf Club and then took up golf later in life with the same ardor and dedication she gave to her professional endeavors, eventually becoming the president of the Westchester Inter club Golf League.
Her children are successfully following their own stars, and her five grandchildren will remember her with admiration and affection, seeing a role model of courage and hard work as a means to conquer any obstacle that life may present. All of us mourn her passing, but take genuine comfort that she has overcome an undeserved ordeal. Ira, Jim, Liz, Kate, Joanna, Max, Natalie, and Jack.
Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, September 28 10 AM at Larchmont Temple, 75 Larchmont Ave., Larchmont, NY 10538, (914)834.6120 . Interment will be at Sharon Garden Cemetery in Valhalla, NY. The Millstein family will receive friends at their home (1240 Flagler Dr. Mamaroneck, NY 10543) Tuesday evening 6-9 PM. John J. Fox Funeral Home, Inc., 2080 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, NY 10538, (914) 834-0144, www.jjffh.com