Diane Saxey Carling, age 83, peacefully passed away on December 7th, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by her beloved family.
Diane's journey began on August 22, 1940, in Los Angeles, California, where she entered the world as the fourth child of Joseph Alfred Saxey and Ruth Higham Saxey, born just six months before the untimely passing of her father. Raised by her single mother, Ruth, with the loving support of Aunt Lyle and Uncle Joe Cardall, Diane's formative years showcased resilience and the strength of family bonds.
The Saxey family's relocation from California to Utah marked the beginning of Diane's life in the avenues of Salt Lake City, particularly the Lindsey Gardens area. Diane graduated from East High School and later continued her education at the University of Utah, where she became a member of the Chi Chapter of Lambda Delta Sigma, forming lifelong friendships.
It was during a ski outing at Brighton that Diane's life took a remarkable turn. Two days after Richard returned from serving an LDS mission, their paths crossed, and their love story began. From that day forward, Diane and Richard met every day for lunch at the University of Utah library, attended events like the Gold and Green Ball, and embarked on countless adventures.
On a memorable hiking trip to Hayden Lake in the High Uintas, Diane showcased her adventurous spirit. Out-hiking all the guys, she cast her fishing line into the lake upon arrival, falling asleep on the shore. Playfully teased by Richard for not actively fishing, Diane responded by reeling in the only catch of the entire trip.
In the summer of 1961, Diane and Richard were married in the Salt Lake Temple, marking the beginning of a union that would span over 62 years. Their inseparable bond became a beacon of enduring love, shared adventures, and unwavering companionship.
In the early years of their marriage, Diane worked full-time at Mountain Bell Telephone Company, demonstrating her intelligence, strong work ethic, and problem-solving skills. An active participant in the community, Diane was highly respected at church, business, and political events. Her involvement as a delegate at a political mass meeting in the early 1960s marked the beginning of Richard's distinguished political career.
As their family grew, Diane embraced her lifelong dream of being a mother and homemaker. Offering steadfast encouragement, she drove her children to ballet, violin, flute, and drum lessons, ensuring they had every opportunity to explore their passions and talents.
Diane's connection to her home extended beyond its walls into her yard. With meticulous care and a green thumb, she transformed the outdoor space into a picturesque retreat. Her backyard included flowers and a vegetable garden, while the front yard bloomed with a vibrant display of flowers. Her gardening expertise not only added beauty to her surroundings but also served as a reflection of her nurturing spirit and the love she poured into every facet of her life.
Diane hosted legendary birthday parties that left an everlasting imprint on the hearts of family and friends. From sleepover extravaganzas filled with laughter and shared moments to mixed-up mystery dinners that transformed ordinary meals into culinary adventures, Diane's creativity and attention to detail turned each birthday into a magical event. Bunco added a touch of excitement, while quirky activities like pulling taffy and peel-off facial masks became cherished memories. Diane's legendary parties were more than celebrations; they were expressions of love, creativity, and a deep understanding of what makes a birthday truly special.
Diane's commitment to her children extended to her roles as a Girl Scout troop leader and Cub Scout leader. She dedicated her time to organizing weekly troop meetings, attending day camps and pinewood derbies, and creating memorable experiences for the scouts under her guidance.
Diane's creativity was boundless, showcasing her diverse talents in various aspects of her family's life. Whether it was sewing exquisite prom dresses for her daughters, embellished with rhinestones and taffeta (in the late-1980’s), or dedicating herself to crafting intricate scrapbooks, Diane was deeply involved in preserving memories and adding artistic flair to her family's journey. Her active participation extended to her children's school life, where she lent her creative touch to school posters, signs, pep club, and cheerleading banners, leaving an enduring mark on her children's experiences.
Diane’s legendary cooking skills were celebrated by her family and friends, with favorites including rolls, bread, strawberry jam, fruit cups, a variety of amazing sweets for every occasion, and, of course, her renowned chocolate cake for birthdays. Her cooking wasn't just about food; it was a manifestation of her love and the heart of countless joyous gatherings.
Diane became a fixture at Richard's marathons, providing endless support, a chair, and a celebratory Coca-Cola at the finish line. Their shared love for travel took them on numerous adventures, forging friendships wherever they went. Hawaii held a special place in their hearts, creating lasting memories and friendships.
In the midst of family challenges, Diane emerged as a rock of strength, embodying resilience during pivotal moments. She stood unwavering, providing solace and support to her family. Diane's extraordinary capacity to shoulder the weight of adversity without flinching became a guiding force for her loved ones. She extended a steady hand to those around her, assuring them that, no matter the obstacle, they could navigate through it together. Diane's role as a caregiver during these challenging times showcased not just her selflessness but also her remarkable strength, leaving an enduring legacy of fortitude for her family to carry forward.
Diane's role as a grandmother was defined by love, joy, and enduring connections. From lively outings to Desert Star Playhouse to heartfelt homemade birthday dinners with expertly crafted cakes, she created a haven of warmth and celebration. Diane's home was not just a place for gatherings, but a space where grandchildren felt cherished and supported.
Diane was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church), where she devoted her time to serving in a variety of callings, and especially enjoyed her friendships created in the Relief Society.
In their neighborhood, Diane and Richard formed lifelong friendships. Having lived in the same house for over five decades, Diane was surrounded by amazing neighbors and friends. Always ready with a helping hand or a kind word, she exemplified the spirit of community, turning neighbors into lifelong friends. Diane's legacy lives on in the stories and shared moments that continue to resonate through the tight-knit fabric of the neighborhood she so beautifully enriched.
Diane is survived by her devoted husband of 62 years, Richard J. Carling, and her children: Angie Meyers (Mike), Cindy Carling Cowley (Michael), Teresa Carling Jones, and Doug Carling (Kellie). She leaves behind 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Diane is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Ruth Saxey, and her siblings: Connie (Tim) Schieving, Gloria (Dave) Lord, and Michael (Shriley – surviving spouse) Saxey.
Funeral services will be held at the Crestview Ward, 2795 East Crestview Drive, on Saturday, December 16th, at 11:30 a.m. Viewings will be held on Friday evening, December 15th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the ward.