John N. Diana, Sr. passed away peacefully in his home on January 17, 2018 surrounded by his family. He died of natural causes secondary to a stroke.
Dr. Diana was a kind and gentle man who cared deeply for those around him. He was beloved by his family, his students, and his co-workers throughout his life. He had an unusually positive effect on those with whom he interacted because he could consistently give his undivided attention to their concerns. He would put the concerns of others above his own and work hard to solve problems for those who sought his advice. He was a man of high integrity who was both thoughtful and unassuming.
Dr. Diana was born in Lake Placid, New York in the Adirondack Mountains on December 19, 1930. He was raised in an Italian-American family with his brother and two sisters. He started his career in the US Army after completing his undergraduate education at Norwich University in Vermont. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served during the Korean War, spending time in Korea before transitioning to a reserve role. Following his active military service, he completed his PhD in Physiology at the University of Louisville where he met his wife of 52 years, Louise Diana. He went on to spend a career in both medical research and education. He loved to teach his students, often rehearsing his entire lecture plan several times the day before his class in order to give them his best effort.
Dr. Diana did research on blood vessels, hoping to advance knowledge to assist the medical community solve answers to difficult problems. He was quite successful, twice being awarded outstanding pre-clinical professor and serving for several years as the Associate Dean of the University of Kentucky Medical School. He was funded for his research every year of his 30-year career in science, a fact of which he was very proud. He always lamented that there were so many great ideas out there by scientists everywhere, but not enough funding to support them all.
He loved to play golf, read, and write. In his 20-year retirement before he passed, he was able to play golf many times every week. Although he enjoyed hobbies, he enjoyed his family most of all. He was known as ‘Munyo,’ a name ascribed to him by his grandson at a very early age. As with most affectionate names, it stuck for the rest of his years with close friends and family.
Munyo is survived by his wife Louise, his son John Jr., his daughters Gina and Lisa, and his 6 grandchildren, including his Napa grandchildren, Andrew and Grace. His memorial service will be held privately in the future.