A light of spirit, joy, compassion and prayer left this world Wednesday morning, Nov. 17, 2021, surrounded by faithful companions, her son, her caregivers, and all those who would walk her home.
Dianne Louise Lowe, of Pullman, was born Sept. 2, 1949, in Detroit to Wayne and Josephine (Searles) Steele. The family moved to Livermore, Calif., where Dianne grew up and attended school, graduating from Livermore High school in 1967. She attended X-ray school and worked in that field for a number of years. Dianne later returned to college and earned her masters and Ph.D. in health sciences from Pacific Western University in California. In addition to the many religious icons who adorn her life, one of Dianne’s favorite images is of Kokopelli, the dancer, stepping off into the unknown, an image that captured her life-long blending of spirituality and medical science. Notable stops along the way included living in a rescue mission in Bakersfield, taking her 8-year-old son, John, on a medical mission to Honduras in 1978, exploring faith in a variety of Christian denominations until she settled in The Episcopal Church.
Dianne met Jerri Pedersen and in 1993 and they solemnized their vows of lifelong love and commitment as often as church and state would allow: in 1993, in 2004, in 2008, in 2012, before Jerri’s death in 2014. They came to Pullman in 2005, where Dianne has made her home since. Dianne and Jerri made a habit of welcoming, always inviting people into their home, and reaching out to those who were shut-in, homebound, and forgotten — with stories, prayer, rides, and the rites of the church. Dianne maintained a level of involvement in issues of equality, hope and inclusion that could not be matched, gently but firmly insisting on her baptismal promise to see the face of God in all she met.
Dianne was a member of St. James Episcopal Church in Pullman, and was ordained as a deacon at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane in 2012, following which she was officially deployed to St. James by the bishop, where she served for many years. In addition, Dianne served as a member of the chaplaincy teams at Pullman Regional Hospital and Gritman Medical Center, supporting patients, their families, volunteers and staff in their hardest moments, especially in the years of this pandemic.
Dianne was an important part of the Palouse community and maintained a high level of involvement in end-of-life education and hospice. A lifelong follower of the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, Dianne made her formal profession in February 2019, as a third-order Franciscan in the province of the Americas, Il Poverello branch (via Zoom). Failing health did not deter this spirit, as she hosted book studies in her living room, distributed her religious textbooks to those seeking holy orders, taught ukulele to her neighboring children, Nashmia and Rumaisa; provided her notary services to all who were in need, and on the day before she was admitted to hospice, conducted a marriage ceremony in her living room. As each gathering ended she would send her friends away with this blessing, “Remember always, you are held gently, and deeply loved.”
Dianne is survived by her son, John Lowe, of Salinas, Calif. She was preceded in death by her wife Jerri, her parents, and her brother, Benjamin Steele.
The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 27 at St. James Episcopal Church in Pullman. Dianne will be laid to rest at Memory Gardens Cemetery in California. Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman has been entrusted with arrangements. Memorial donations are suggested to St. James Episcopal Church Discretionary Fund, to the Parkinson’s Foundation or the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be sent to kimballfh.com.