Diane Kay Markins, an Ahwatukee author and public speaker whose words of faith and practical guidance brought comfort and inspiration to countless people, passed away Aug. 6 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 62.
A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Mountain Park Church, 16461 S. 48th St., Ahwatukee.
A San Diego native and journalism graduate from Northern Arizona University who was a devoted wife and mother, Mrs. Markins’ long career included public relations, teaching at Mesa Community College, freelance writing and hosting a radio show called “Bold Living” on KPXQ.
But it was her inspirational columns, books and blogs — as well as her many public speaking appearances — for which she will perhaps be best remembered by many, particularly women.
“Diane loved words,” her family wrote in her official obituary. “Speaking them, writing them, reading them, hearing them, teaching them. She believed that laughter was the best medicine, and this showed throughout her work and daily life.”
Kathe Wunnenberg, her longtime friend with whom she shared a ministry, recalled:
“Diane was very compassionate, very caring, very bold. She did things. I mean, she saw a need, she met it. She had a dream, she did it. She wanted to encourage someone, she didn’t wait; she just went out after it and did it.”
An Ahwatukee resident for more than 30 years, Mrs. Markins also possessed seemingly unlimited energy.
She helped to run the family business as marketing director, operated her own public relations firm called Words in High Def, spoke at innumerable conferences and for a while ran workshops with her husband for couples who were planning to get married.
“I write and speak in a ‘high def, authentic style’ about issues that impact daily living,” she wrote on her LinkedIn resume. “I aspire to reflect the love of God as a wife, mom, businesswoman, speaker and writer.”
Wunnenberg said Mrs. Markins’ last public speaking appearance was about six months ago before a group of widows, saying that her message reflected who she was.
“I think of a woman who had fearless courage to the end and who lived her life bold and she loved Jesus passionately,” Wunnenberg said. “And that was the purpose behind everything she did.”
Mrs. Markins, who wrote columns for AFN for several years, published two books, “Women in High Def” and “Contentment Connection.”
In describing the first book, subtitled “Boldly Living Your Purpose with Vibrant Clarity,” she said it “aims to propel women out of a low-def, foggy life of going through the motions in a blur.”
Instead, she wanted women to become “bolder moms, having purposeful passions, pursuing marriage excellence, loving themselves with gusto, laughing with abandon, transforming mistakes into blasts of blessings and bravely seeking the Lord in all His majestic glory.”
She published “Contentment Connection” weeks after the bruising 2016 presidential election and told AFN in an interview that she thought the book made a perfect Christmas gift because of that.
Noting that it seemed “blatantly obvious that so many folks aren’t happy,” she said:
“While some people are always bragging about their latest vacation or accomplishment, others are sad, angry, complaining and longing. The fallacy is that if you work hard enough, are good enough or look pretty enough…you’ll be content. That’s simply a lie.
“Contentment isn’t gained through external effort or material ‘stuff.’ It’s realized in your spirit as you focus on what’s truly important.”
Describing that book as having been written “through my Christian filter,” Mrs. Markins also said, “It’s not preachy or filled with religious jargon.”
That characterized much of her written and spoken words — convicted but neither demeaning nor dictatorial.
“I’ve been a follower of Christ since I was a kid,” she said in the AFN interview. “My mom and grandmothers modeled and taught me the principles I base my life on and these tips are on love, grace acceptance and forgiveness.”
Mrs. Markins also spent many years as an advocate for people with mental illness and their families and was on the board of the Mental Health Association of Arizona for many years.
And while she toiled, she also knew how to have a good time, according to her official obituary.
“Diane was passionate about seeing new things and meeting new people, she jumped at the chance to travel,” her family said. “She was blessed to be able to visit most of the U.S., some of Europe and even a few African countries. She went on mission trips to help Mexico’s neediest.”
“Diane was a sports fan (Go Cardinals!) which fit in well with her belief that recreation and fellowship is good for the soul,” the obituary continued, adding:
“She spent much of her spare time with family boating or blazing around the sand dunes or Mexico in their off-road vehicles.”
Mrs. Markins is survived by her husband of 40 years and high school sweetheart Bradley Markins; her children Jeffrey and Kimberly; her sister, Beverly; and five grandchildren.
The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to an Arizona behavioral health organization of their choice.