Shirley Larue (Lengel) DieffenbachJanuary 8, 1920 ~ March 27, 2017 (age 97)
Shirley Larue Lengel Dieffenbach, 97, of Williamsport, passed away on March 27, 2017 with her children, Linda and George, by her side.
Born on January 8, 1920 to G. Frank and Emma Smith Lengel in Reading, PA, she attended the Reading public schools and growing up was a member of the Campfire Girls. In 1937 at graduation from Reading High School, she was awarded a scholarship to attend Kutztown State Teachers College from the Reading Museum and Art Gallery. While there she majored in Art Education with a minor in English and graduated with a B.S. Degree in 1941.
From 1941-45 she taught art at the Lower-Paxton Jr. High School outside of Harrisburg where she also served as the Secondary Art Supervisor. During that time she took post-graduate courses in the summer at the Pennsylvania State University.
In 1945 she was offered a position to teach art at the Roosevelt Jr. High School in Williamsport. It was there that she met fellow teacher and the love of her life, Fred M. Dieffenbach who had recently returned from active duty with the U.S. Navy during the war. They married on August 3, 1946 and shared over 62 years together.
She returned to teach at the Williamsport High School in 1955 after taking several years off to have her children. She remained in that position until retiring in 1980. During that time she also served as the art advisor to the school publications, organized annual art exhibitions and supervised decorating for the annual Jr. /Sr. proms. When the current high school was being built, she was instrumental along with other teachers in setting up the art department. She enjoyed teaching her many students over the years and was especially proud of those who became successful artists and/or art educators.
As an artist, who was inspired by nature, she enjoyed working in many mediums including to name just a few, fiber arts, jewelry making, tole painting and water color painting. For over 50 years, Shirley created original Christmas cards that were greatly enjoyed by friends and family.
Shirley loved traveling the world with Fred. They visited Europe, South America, Mexico, Canada, The Caribbean and throughout the U.S. including Hawaii. Besides Williamsport, her very favorite places were Keuka Lake in the summer and the Gulf Coast of Florida in the winter.
She was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and prior to its closing a member of St. Paul Lutheran where she served on the altar guild.
Attending performances of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, the community concert series and other shows at the Community Arts Center were indicative of her great love and appreciation for all kinds of music. She particularly loved the music from the Big Band era
Locally she belonged to the Women’s Club, the CLIO Club, Beta Sigma Phi (TAU KAPPA) Social Sorority, Delta Kappa Gamma (Women Educators) and the Williamsport Garden Club. She was a volunteer at the Jr. Leagues Exchange Mart, a member of the Lycoming County Historical Society and Preservation of Williamsport,
She was preceded in death by both her parents, her husband, Fred, in 2008 and a sister Marjorie Richter of Bethlehem, PA. Surviving are her brother, Jerome Lengel (Kate) of Wyomissing, PA, her daughter, Linda S.D. Lundy (John C.) of Williamsport and son, Dr. George F. Dieffenbach (Emily) of Pittsburgh, grandchildren Sarah R., G. Miles and Lillian G of Pittsburgh as well as step-grandchildren Don Lundy, Jen Matter, Bill Lundy (Val), Beth Lundy (Chris Russo), Tori Markel, Bridget Markel and six step-grandchildren as well as four nieces and a nephew.
A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 8, 2017 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 142 Market St., Williamsport with The Rev. James West officiating. Burial will be held at the convenience of the family.
The family will provide the flowers and suggest if so desired, contributions be made to the Shirley L. Dieffenbach Art Scholarship c/o WASD Education Foundation, 2780 West Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701. The family will match all donations.