Diane (Tullberg) Row
Diane Marie (Tullberg) Row, 60, died Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 in Grand Island, following a long battle with metastatic breast cancer.
Services were held Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Salem Mennonite Church, rural Shickley, Neb. Pastors Shawn Nolt and Matthew Troyer-Miller officiated the services. Burial was in the Bethel Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to the Royal Family Kid’s Camp, PO Box 83995, Lincoln, Neb. 68501. Donations can also be made through http://gi-york.royalfamilykids.org/donations/
Diane was born Dec. 16, 1955 in Sioux City, Iowa to Myron and Gwendonna (Murfin) Tullberg. She spent her childhood on dairy farms in northeast Nebraska. Diane graduated from Wakefield Public High School in 1974; she became the first person in her family to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, studying first at Doane College before completing a Fine Arts in Education degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1978. In college, Diane met Mike Row, her best friend for the rest of her life. They were married on July 15, 1979 and spent the next 37 years laughing together, pestering each other, supporting one another, learning together, and loving one another in the model of Jesus. They raised three children: Lindsey, David and Daniel. After two years teaching at Stromsburg High School, Mike and Diane left Nebraska for Texas, attending Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas; both received associate degrees in Practical Theology there in 1982 and went on to be ordained by the Church of the Brethren, Mike in 1982 and Diane in 1984. Diane and Mike served congregations of many denominations who were between pastors or whose pastors were temporarily absent. For the last decades of her life, she was a vital member of Salem Mennonite Church in Shickley. The Saturday morning women’s Bible Study became a special source of faith and friendship for Diane. In 2009, she became the first woman to be elected to the Salem’s board of Elders, and she served the church faithfully in that role for several years.
Diane’s greatest ministry was always in the classroom. She was an exceptional educator and she cared for her students fiercely. She taught first at Stromsburg, then Fillmore Central, and finally, for 15 years, at Deshler Public Schools. Hundreds of students can testify to her tremendous gifts as a teacher. She invested mountains of time and energy into developing the best art program she could muster and her dedication was evident in her students’ work. Most of all, Diane loved her students; she wanted them to learn and love art, but she wanted them to be better people first. Because of her, they were.
While cancer troubled the last years of Diane’s life, they were still years rich with joy. She still loved making new friends with random people in convenience stores, loved going on “adventures” where the itinerary was determined by whim, loved watching silly TV shows, loved teasing everyone around her (especially Mike), loved insisting that we stop and read every historical marker we passed on the road. Most of all, she loved spending time with her family. The birth of her grandson Silas in 2014 made these last years particularly blessed; Diane was so proud to be his Grammy. She fought her illness with relentless determination and courage, and through Mike’s deep care of her, the assistance of her wonderful doctors, the support of her community, and the grace of God, she enjoyed a full and joyful life until the end.
Survivors include her husband, Michael Row; daughter, Lindsey and Zachary Row-Heyveld of Decorah, Iowa; sons David Row of Lansing, Mich. and Daniel Row of Madison, Wisc.; grandson, Silas Row-Heyveld; four siblings, Linda (Monty) Granfield of Randolph, Dennis (Melia) Tullberg of Wakefield, Connie (David) Herbster of Sabetha, Kan., and Gary (Michelle) Tullberg of Lenox, Iowa; her parents-in-law, Doug and JoAnn Row of Bruning; brothers- and sisters-in-law: Mark (Eileen) Row of Lincoln, Jeff (Sally) Row of Bruning, Valerie (Dan) Papik of Crete, and Michelle (Steve) Vogt of Wichita, Kan.; many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Gwendonna Tullberg; her father, Myron Tullberg; and her niece, Brenna Herbster.
Pallbearers were Spencer Tullberg, Dawson Tullberg, Kevan Herbster, Brad Petersen, Jeremy Row and Ben Row.
Arrangements were with Farmer & Son Funeral Home in Geneva.