Audrey “Dianne” Schmidley, 74, of Arlington VA died on March 24th, 2017 due to complications of a stroke. Dianne was born May 11, 1942 in Nacogdoches, Texas to Francis Schmidley and June Hage. During her childhood, Dianne and her family moved many times due to her Dad’s career with the Department of Agriculture, which included jobs with the Forestry Service and Conservation Service. From an early age, Dianne developed a love of horticulture, which she credited to her Father’s love of the outdoors. Her family lived in every southern state except Mississippi and eventually settled in North Carolina when she was 10 years old. In 1959, Dianne married Darrell Gene Johnston of Thomasville, NC. They had three children: Constance, Richard and John. Their marriage ended in divorce.
Dianne lived in California, Florida and Hawaii as a military wife, eventually settling in Northern Virginia. While raising her three children, she began her college career in earnest in 1970 completing a bachelor’s in sociology in 1975 from Mary Washington University. She then attended Georgetown University on scholarship and earned a master’s in demography, afterwards obtaining her first job working for the U.S. House of Representatives. Dianne then worked for Bell Atlantic until she began a career as a Demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. She continued her education and completed several years of Ph.D. work in anthropology and sociology. She retired in 2005. In 2012, Dianne completed a master’s in history from George Mason University at the age of 70.
Dianne married David Foster in 1982. In the 35 years they shared together until her death, they enjoyed a passion for many things including politics, reading, movies, and raising their dogs and birds. Dianne was also an avid gardener, elder blogger, researcher and historian, and enjoyed sharing her wealth of knowledge. Dianne is survived by her loving husband, David, her three children, Connie Nystrom (Bill), Richard Johnston (Wendy) and John Johnston; her three stepchildren, Robert Foster (Arlene), Julie Lawhorn (Kenny), and Timothy Foster (Emily); 15 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, and her brother, Michael Schmidley. She was preceded in death by her sister, Michelle Crawford, as well as her parents.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, May 6, at 2:00 at St. Anselm’s Abbey, 4501 South Dakota Ave., NE, Washington, D.C.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Audubon Society, the Arbor Foundation, or your local animal shelter.