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Diana Miller Sauerhaft ’84

October 5, 2021, in Los Altos, California.

Contributed by David Sauerhaft ’82

I first saw Diana in the Reed library in 1980; she was a freshman and I was a junior. She was full of life and very cute. 

At the start of her sophomore year, Diana came to collect boxes at a mailroom pick-up spot, where I was working. We began talking; and there was definitely a spark.

Diana was down-to-earth and a lot of fun. Everything between us flowed easily, and we developed a deep friendship. We started spending most of our time together, and soon fell into each other’s arms.

That spring we went camping at Oregon Dunes. Our first night, it poured. Rain soaked everything we had brought with us. We hitchhiked to Florence to find a hotel room and found ourselves in a pub enjoying music surrounded by a pack of motorcyclists wearing peace signs on their leather jackets. Diana says that was when she knew we were meant for each other.

At the end of the semester, as I was about to graduate, Diana and I went to Ecola State Beach, and I asked her, “What do you think will happen to us?” Diana said, “I think we will get married.” I don’t think she expected to say that. But it was real, and we embraced with such happiness.

While I began my post-college life, Diana continued her studies in English. She wrote her thesis, “Thou art . . . a metaphoricall God: The Prose Style of John Donne,” with Prof. Gail Berkeley Sherman [English].

After graduating, Diana joined me in New York City, got a job in publishing, and then attended Columbia Business School, where she earned her MBA. We had a lot of fun living in the city, going to clubs, running in Central Park, and walking Manhattan. 

Diana wanted to move back to San Francisco, where she had grown up and attended Lowell High School. She found a job there in banking, and we moved across the country.

We got married in 1989, with many Reed friends in attendance. Diana gave birth to our daughter Julia in 1993 and our son Samuel in 1997. Family formed the center of our lives. Diana loved being a mom, and even as she built her career, which had now shifted to tech, her top priority was spending time with her family and those she loved. Diana had fun playing with Julia and Sam when they were toddlers, and enjoyed going to their soccer and field hockey games, swim and track meets, and theater performances as they got older. She also cared for her parents, helping them live fully as they aged.

Diana made sure we had dinner together every night as a family, and she always welcomed friends and relatives at our table. We built a house in Los Altos, California, which became the hub of our life together. Diana enjoyed working out, reading (two book clubs), and traveling, especially to Kauai.

The relationship that Diana and I began at Reed had become a life with roots and branches woven as one, a deep partnership and love, sustained through good and bad times, with joy and purpose. We shared everything.

In 2015, Diana was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (see Class Notes). Diana received her diagnosis a year after she joined Varian Medical Systems, a leading supplier of radiation oncology equipment. She embraced its mission of building a world without fear of cancer. She spoke about her experience as a patient to her colleagues around the world and to medical students at Stanford and UCSF.

But cancer did not govern Diana’s life. She continued to work (her colleagues appreciated her ability “to get stuff done”). Diana was always passionate about social justice and committed to building a better world. In response to the 2016 election, she co-founded Silicon Valley for America to support Democratic candidates across the country, particularly in local races.

After her diagnosis, we lived with the intensity of the moment, every day to its fullest. We enjoyed time together at home, talking, cooking, gardening, entertaining, and simply being next to each other. Our children were always close to our hearts. And friendships remained very important, a few from Reed, and many new ones built over the years. 

We also traveled both near and far: walking along the California coast, cross country skiing in Yosemite, and seeing plays in Ashland. We explored Greece, biked in Holland, hiked in Switzerland, and celebrated New Year’s Eve 2020 with our children on the Champs-Élysées. These were a very rich and wonderful six years. 

Diana died on October 5, 2021. We were with our children, looking out onto the garden of our home. 

Diana’s life was one of fulfillment and meaning, happiness and adventure, inspiration and love. Time is only one dimension. Love is also a dimension, every bit as powerful, extending infinitely in every direction. I love Diana with every element of my being. Her love and commitment to me, our children, her friends, and this world is fierce and boundless. Diana’s was and is a wonderful and beautiful life. 

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2022

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