SEARSPORT — Diana Weddell of Searsport passed away Sept. 12, 2022.

Diana was born on March 1, 1943, at the Bradbury Hospital in Belfast. She and her twin brother Lance arrived in a snowstorm. Dad, on leave from the Merchant Marines and having no car, called the town police, who delivered mom and him to the hospital. The twins were premature. They stayed two weeks at the hospital, which cost the family the whole sum of $43. 

Diana was the daughter of Hilda May (Nickerson) Weddell and George Alexander Weddell. She graduated from Searsport High School in 1962. She attended Husson Secretarial School on Park Street in Bangor, which turned out to be something of a disaster. Commuting back and forth on the Greyhound Bus to Bangor, combined with school and work proved to be too much. She immediately decided to try her luck in Boston.

Her father, at her mother’s urging, took her to Boston and New York City the summer of her sophomore year in high school to get her away from the stress of her mother’s heart attack and to pick up his vacation check from the teamsters’ union. Diana had a wonderful time and vowed to go back. The move to Boston was one of the best decisions of her life. 

On arriving in Boston, Diana stayed at the Berkeley Residence Club, a residence for young working women with a director who had been an officer in the U.S. Army. Mrs. Thornton, the director, was tall, elegant and ruled with a velvet glove. The residents were served breakfast and dinner. No visitors were allowed after 11 p.m. On Sunday afternoons, the women were encouraged to attend and participate in afternoon tea in the drawing room. The girls complained about having to dress up (heels, nylons, white gloves, dresses, skirts and absolutely no dungarees), but they actually enjoyed playing hostesses and felt quite sophisticated. One of the girls played the Steinway piano. The director discreetly made suggestions, but mostly the girls learned how to be good conversationalists. Some of the women never learned that skill. It wasn’t long before the women were wearing bell-bottom trousers and staying out on Friday and Saturday nights at cheap coffee houses in Back Bay. At the same time Diana was very active in the Phillip Brooks Club at Trinity Church where she made a few longterm friends. 

Diana’s first job was as an executive secretary to the commander in chief of the Salvation Army, which was located a block away from the residence club. Diana felt the Salvation Army might consider her for the position because she had heard how well the Salvation Army canteen had treated her two uncles (Bill Murphy and Bob York) in World War II. If no one else would hire her, she felt the Salvation Army would take pity on her. Brigadier Sampson turned out to be one of the smartest people on the planet and very politically savvy in accomplishing the goals of the Army. Diana stayed there three years and then applied to work for the Brook Street Bureau of Mayfair in London, England. 

The bureau had over 130 branches in England, Australia and the U.S. A minimum of 100 words per minute shorthand and a typing speed of 60 words per minute, flexibility and a sense of humor were required. They took care of work permits and saw that health requirements were followed. Diana found a bedsitter in Chelsea near Sloan Square. The house was inhabited by males her age and Diana was the only female.

Chelsea was the place to be in the 1960s and ’70s. No one ever slept. Diana was assigned a temporary secretarial job with an unconventional Member of Parliament who was a socialist. He told Diana she looked like the milk maid and she had the busiest hands. She got a kick out of him, and he soon found out she knew how to handle old geezers (he was 57). He eventually offered her a permanent position. 

While in England, Diana traveled to Belfast and Dublin to visit relatives. It was a dangerous time to be in Belfast but the good Lord was looking over her. She also traveled to Greece, Austria and the Netherlands. On returning to Boston, Diana worked for an interesting trial/criminal lawyer for a few years and then was hired at the architectural firm of John Carl Warnecke and Associates. Jack was known as the president’s (John F. Kennedy) architect in Washington, D.C., and was a colorful fellow. There were a number of colorful fellows at the firm and only one female architect. They slowly hired another female architect.

Diana had a number of temporary assignments through the Brook Street Bureau all over Boston and Cambridge. It was a good way to learn what was actually going on in the city and become actively involved in political campaigns. 

Diana’s final position was as staff assistant in the William B. Castle Society at Harvard Medical School, which involved setting up tutorials, and planning sit-down dinners for the students and their guests at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Aquarium. She also worked closely with the dean of students on student problems and the five-year program. 

Somewhere along the line Diana received a bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University in 1982 and a master’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in history at Harvard Extension in 1992, under the umbrella of Harvard University. 

Upon returning to Searsport, Diana took care of her mother. They were always close and it was always an honor to be with her mother at the end. Diana’s mother would call her every morning and Diana would talk to her no matter where Diana lived. Diana’s mother was always enthusiastic over Diana’s little projects. After Diana’s mother’s death, Diana was fortunate to be hired as the administrative assistant in the English department at the University of Maine until her retirement. 

Diana was a life member of the Mayflower Society and a member of the Penobscot Expedition of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a member of the Penobscot Genealogical Society and enjoyed doing genealogy. She was on the board of directors of the Friends of the Bangor Public Library and a library volunteer. She enjoyed dabbling in politics, dancing, attending art openings, taking classes, and going on long walks, especially on Sears Island on the road where she grew up. 

She is survived by her twin brother Lance Weddell and his wife Martha (Rice), and numerous cousins and their spouses in Searsport, Belfast, Vermont and across the county. She was predeceased by her mother and father, her aunt Mildred Nickerson, who lived with Diana off and on and was part of the family, Aunt Colleen York, and a number of well-loved animals.  

At Diana’s request there will be no funeral. Those of you who were her friends are asked to make a toast in her memory or give to an animal shelter. She will be buried in the family plot at the Bowditch Cemetery in Searsport. Burial arrangements will be handled by Downeast Cremation of Maine. 

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