Kelm volunteered, worked editing


June 15, 2017

Diana Kelm

Friends and neighbors paid last respects to Diana Kelm at a graveside service Friday hosted by her partner, Bill McCord. She died June 7 at her Beach Road home of congestive heart failure. She was 72.

Kelm moved to Haines from Juneau in 1999 with her late husband, Jack Kelm, after retiring from the Alaska Department of Labor.

She worked as a freelance editor, proofreader and distributor for the Chilkat Valley News, and for the Visitor's Center. She volunteered at the Sheldon Museum, served on the boards of the Haines Arts Council and KHNS, and was a supporter of HARK and Hospice of Haines.

"Diana was quiet, kind, loved words and books, pampered my pet, and was a good friend, though very private," said former CVN publisher Bonnie Hedrick. "As proofreader, she was meticulous. We'd usually find our mistakes after the paper came out in stories or ads she never got to review."

Kelm didn't limit herself to "brainwork," Hedrick said. "She met the paper each week upon return, often having to juggle logistics when weather would ground planes or otherwise throw a wrench into plans. Her job every week was to go above and beyond in order to make sure the CVN got to its readers."

Nancy Nash spent years paired with Kelm, a volunteer, operating the museum on summer Saturdays. Kelm also tended the museum grounds and shared her knowledge of town with visitors. She knew names of plants, and took interest in the heirloom apple tree. "Capable is the perfect word to describe Diana," Nash said. "If the Halon (fire suppression system) went off, I'm sure she could have handled it."

Kelm was an avid walker who picked up litter as she strolled. Neighbor Amber Krueger will miss seeing her on their road "with her beautiful long braid." Kelm always asked about Krueger's family, and "happily closed the conversation with, 'Enjoy each other.'"

Diana was born Oct. 10, 1944 in Detroit, Mich. to Donald and Gertrude Pierce. She was raised in a Warren, Mich. home her grandfather built. Her father was in the Air Force. She graduated from Lincoln High School and Central Michigan University with honors.

She also studied studio art and art history at the Michigan State University, and worked there for a time as an editor. She married artist Jack Van Hoesen and they lived in Haines in the 1970s when she worked at the school library. She met Jack Kelm here and they later married. She also taught English in Anchorage, and lived in Sitka before settling in Juneau with Kelm and retiring back to Haines. He preceded her in death.

Kelm and McCord of Mount Vernon, Wash. connected in 2014 through Senior People Meet, an online service. They have been together since then. "I loved her," he said.

They enjoyed reading, walking, gardening, morning espressos, and bird-watching together. "Diana knew all the calls," McCord said. "Near the end she listened to Mozart and the Cornell (University) ornithology lab recordings."

She leaves McCord and a few distant relatives.


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