Dianne Blakesley was born August 5, 1950 to Charlie and Dorothy (Hettervig) Wood, she left this world April 10, 2023 the day after enjoying a glorious double rainbow from her bed.
She passed away peacefully at Peace Health St. Joseph Hospital surrounded by love and laughter. She succumbed to complications from a sudden illness and kidney failure.
Dianne resided in Ferndale for all but a few years of her life when she, her first husband Pete and their daughter Kimberly lived in Yuba City, California.
In 1979 Dianne began a 28-year career driving school bus in Ferndale, retiring in 2007. She also drove for Chilton’s berry farm in the summers. She loved her bus kids!
Dianne loved to work and stay busy, she worked for many places around Ferndale. She had some fond memories of working in the Clubhouse at Riverside Golf Course. There was a stint at Dandee Diaper Service that was pretty interesting.
Sometime in the mid 80’s, Dianne met Ron Blakesley they married in 1997.
In 1985, Kelly’s O’Deli opened at the corner of Smith and Guide Meridian. It was here that began a lifetime of memories for Dianne, Ron, members of both their families, the many employees - from bus kids, fellow bus drivers, and many more lucky enough to fall into the Kelly’s O’Deli experience.
Eventually, Dianne and Ron were the forces behind the business and its many faces; wholesale delivery, U-Haul dealer, video rental, food service providers at WCC, an Avis franchise, an airport bistro and event center, and most importantly to them; their catering business, which became an immense source of pride for them. They loved to feed, entertain, and contribute to their communities.
Dianne epitomized community, she could bring together or join a group of people and together they would achieve greatness. Whether it was a group of moms raising their children, ladies with a love for softball, a bus full of children, a crew ready to feed an army of hungry workers, whatever it was-she could organize and be there to support the endeavor.
Dianne felt it was her duty to give back to the community she was a part of and so deeply loved. She was on the Boards of Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, Ferndale Boys & Girls Club, and a member of several other groups. Throughout the years she was the recipient of many, many awards. Ferndale Woman of the year, Record Journal Businessperson of the year, Founders and Pioneers awards, Finalist for Small Business of the year Whatcom County and most touching, her last award in 2017, the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.
In 2018, she sold Kelly’s O’Deli and began a new adventure of trying to be retired. Not one to be idle, she kept busy tending to her plants and flowers, taking care of her backyard and pool, remodeling her house, going on vacations, and folding the laundry of any house she visited, she really wanted to be useful.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after she retired and thus began another adventure. She remained at home with her family and had a small village of loved ones that kept her active while enjoying her company.
In March of this year, she started going to the Old Friends Club, a part of Dementia Support Northwest. This respite group was amazing for her and for her loved ones. While she only went one day a week, it gave her a new group of peers to interact with and it brought her great joy.
She loved her days with the littles, she loved going for drives - she could recall all her bus routes, who lived where, where she delivered food, which coffee stands were her favorite. We spent many miles in the car reminiscing about Whatcom County and all her glory.
She was proud of her roots and that she contributed to the strong foundation of her community.
Dianne was predeceased by her parents, Charlie and Dorothy, Brothers Paul Hettervig and Don Wood. And husband Ron Blakesley.
Surviving Dianne is Daughter Kimberly (Samuel) Wagner. Ron’s daughters Tina Jackson (Mike O’Herron), Tari Blakesley (Darrell Givens). Sister Debbie and sister-in-law Janice.
She was Gramma, G-mama, Mema, or Gramma Di to Ryan, Jenny, Kyle, Lindsey, Kendall, Alyssa, Jeter, Miracle, Jordan, Mesa, Decker and many more bigs and littles that were loved and cherished.
Many thanks to those in our village who remained there for Dianne. Karen, Essie (Sam’s mom), Pete, Cascade Connections, Old Friends Club and her dogs Penny and Milo.
Please join us to Celebrate Dianne on Saturday, July 15th 12:00 pm at Ferndale Event Center 5715 Barrett Rd Ferndale, WA. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to:
www.dementiasupportnw.orgDementia Support Northwest, 2950 Newmarket Street #210, Bellingham, Wa. 98225