Judge Diana Jane (nee Ziegler) LaViolette born in Sullivan, Indiana on August 29, 1945, passed away peacefully on December 17th, 2023 from a stroke; she was 78 years old.
She is survived by her husband John of Greencastle, IN, her son Alan of McLean, VA, daughter Jean (LaViolette) Athey of Elmhurst, IL, sister Sue Waddell of Cincinnati, OH and five grandchildren: Archer, Kinsey, Bowen, Gus, and Violet.
Diana lived a life of adventure, devotion to her family and service to her community. As a minister’s daughter, Diana was raised with a strong moral compass that guided her through life and shaped the communities she served. She graduated high school in North Salem, IN and then went to college at Texas Christian University, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in English and Social Studies. She taught at a high school in Kansas City after graduation. A year later she joined the Peace Corps and served in Istanbul, Turkey, where she taught English to high school students for two years. When she returned home she obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Studies from Duquesne University. Returning home to Indiana, she began teaching at North Putnam High School and, subsequently, at the Indiana Women's Prison where she discovered an interest in law. She pursued a law degree and graduated Cum Laude from Indiana University Law School in 1980. She joined the Prosecutor’s Office in Greencastle under Del Brewer. She was promoted to Chief Deputy Prosecutor by Bob Lowe, winning over 99% of the cases she prosecuted. In 1992, she ran and was elected Judge of the Putnam County Circuit Court where she served two six-year terms. After retiring, she became a special Judge and traveled to many counties of Indiana for another nine years. During her long life she was a member of Kiwanis, PEO, Daughters of the American Revolution, President of the Putnam County Museum for two terms, a member of the Putnam County Library Board, and her church. Her many contributions to her community were highly recognized and she was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, the Kinsey Award in recognition of outstanding judicial service to the youth of Indiana and Citizen of the Year, to name a few of her many accolades. However, she never let the recognition change her humble and generous character.
Diana enjoyed life’s simple pleasures, such as swimming at her beloved lake, book clubs and playing bridge. She also loved traveling the world; to include Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia and hosting foreign exchange students. In her last years she enjoyed sunset boat rides with John, putting together countless Jigsaw Puzzles, reading, and spending time with friends and family. Her quick wit and self-effacing sense of humor will be sorely missed. She is predeceased by her father Lozier Ziegler, her mother Betty and her sister Linda Ratcliff.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Putnam County Foundation in her memory.