Diane Lee Shattler Blake, known to her family as their beloved “Gubby,” died in her home on February 20, 2022 of natural causes at the age of 78. She was a Simi Valley resident in the same home for 46 years, raising 3 daughters and loving on 5 grandchildren with her husband, Roy Jennings Blake, the “love of her life,” who was the brother of her high school best friend, Kathy Blake.
Born in 1944, the daughter of Gladys Delphine Lamb and Howard Shattler of Glenwood, Minnesota, Diane grew up with older brother David Shattler, and younger brothers Ronald and Jerry Shattler. After moving to California and settling in the San Gabriel Valley at the age of 11, a split and new marriage brought a step father, Thomas Diaz, sister Susan Diaz, and step siblings Dennis and Sandy. Many years later, a third marriage would bring another step father, Hank Chapek, and 3 more step sisters, Linda, Susie, and Sandy into Diane’s family. She is preceded in death by her parents, her siblings Susie and Jerry, and her husband Roy, who passed away in 2011. She leaves behind her daughters Kathryn Evans (Scott), Amanda Blake, Samantha Theisen (John), her grandchildren - Alexandra Robinson (Steven), Sarah Evans, Jakob Evans, Max Theisen, and Zoe Theisen, plus many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Diane graduated Salutatorian in 1962 from La Puente High School, and later attended Mt. Sac College and Cal State University Long Beach. She was beautiful, with bright red hair, and was often compared to Julie Andrews or Carol Burnett. Diane married Roy in 1965 and worked at his college in Arizona, earning her “pushing hubby through” certificate (it was the 60’s). Their first of 3 daughters was born in the summer of 1969. After their third daughter was born, the family moved to Simi Valley, where she planted three sycamore trees in the front yard that now tower over their home.
Diane was a homemaker until daughter Kathryn was 16. She was an amazing Girl Scout leader and volunteer room mom for all three of her girls’ classrooms as they grew up. She and Roy never missed a softball/basketball game, concert, or performance of any of their children or grandchildren. Music was a constant presence in the house and Diane loved to sing. Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett were some of her favorites. As Roy’s health began to decline, Diane went back to school and earned her teaching credential in 1985. She taught for 17 years at Stagg Street Elementary in Van Nuys. Diane was an incredibly dedicated and creative teacher and an ardent supporter and representative of the teachers union during a very tumultuous time in LAUSD history. A health issue forced her early retirement in 2001, but Diane was happy to be able to focus all of her time on her new role as “Gubby,” with her grandbabies, or “bubbies” as she called them.
Diane fiercely loved her family. Through the many challenges life presented her, she demonstrated to us all how to pivot and persevere, all the while keeping her laser focus on what was best for our family. It can be said that she had a 6th sense as she would often “know” what was happening with her children and grandchildren, sometimes before any of us wanted her to. And she would not hesitate getting to work to help with whatever was needed without judgement. She taught us all to question everything and speak up when something isn’t right. She refused to be silenced for her views, and believed in taking a stand and speaking up when it was important. She raised her children to do the same.
In Diane’s own words – “I am a fairly uncomplicated person. I don’t need a lot of things. Some things that just make me smile when they happen are: seeing a rainbow in the sky after a bit of rain, hearing one of my babies giggle, watching a hummingbird hover over a flower, watching a kitten chase after a ball of string, floating on my back in the pool and looking up at the blue sky, watching the wind rustle the leaves of my sycamore trees, watching one of my babies or grand babies softly breathing when they fall asleep on my chest, being in the mountains among the pine trees, listening to the rain that happens so rarely as it cleans the streets, the plants, and my house, and freshening the air around us, taking in the incredible sounds that come out of my favorite singers and the music that soothes my soul and brings me peace, listening to an audio book, and watching my children and grandchildren perform, whether acting, singing, playing an instrument, or in a sporting event fills me with pride…Then, there’s the serendipity of having my best friend’s brother be the one I would fall in love with, marry, and make babies with. He was truly the prince of my childhood dreams.”
A private family and friend farewell will be held on Wednesday, February 23 at 3:00PM at Reardon Mortuary in Simi Valley. A more public celebration of life will be delayed until Diane’s birthday, on September 11, 2022. Details will be forthcoming.