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Diane Carrithers Carlisle ’63

February 11, 2021, in Baker City, Oregon.

Diane was born in Bakersfield, California, and spent most of her childhood in Robinette, Oregon, an isolated community in the Snake River Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border east of Baker City. Her family operated the Robinette grocery store and post office while raising cattle and alfalfa seed on the Jackson Bar Idaho ranch. Diane attended the one-room Robinette grade school and then boarded with Judge John and Cornelia Sass in Richland, Oregon, during her years at Eagle Valley High School.

Following the flooding of the Snake River Canyon by the Brownlee Dam in 1958, the Carrithers family moved to Santa Cruz, California, where Diane graduated from high school. She attended Reed before marrying her Eagle Valley High School sweetheart, Warren Whitnah, in 1960. After their graduation from Eastern Oregon College (now Eastern Oregon University), Diane worked for the State of Oregon as a public welfare case manager while Warren attended the University of Oregon Dental School in Portland and during the early years of his dental practice in Baker City.

Following their divorce in 1975, Diane completed a master’s in social work at the University of Washington, specializing in mental health (psychotherapy) and substance abuse treatment. She practiced for a number of years in southwest Washington before returning to eastern Oregon in 2006. In Baker City, she worked with adolescents affected by substance abuse, hospice patients and their families, and outpatient mental health service—all work that she considered a privilege. She is survived by her children, Tymmera Whitnah and Robert Whitnah; her brother, Richard Carrithers; and her “second son,” Shigeru Oshima.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2021

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