Diane Diebold Terni, 74, died September 7, at her beloved home, Brewton Plantation, in Yemassee, S.C., after a lengthy illness. She was born January 24, 1939, in New York City.
Her children Frank Joseph Gavel, Jr, and his wife, Laurie of Newtown, Linda Gavel Webb of Troutville, Va., and Stephen Louis Gavel of Yemassee; three grandchildren; her brothers, Albert Richard Diebold, Jr, of Tucson, Ariz., and Dudley George Diebold of Roxbury; as well as many dear nieces, nephews, and cousins survive Ms Terni. In addition to her husband, Paul J. Terni, her parents Dorothy Roosen Diebold and Albert Richard Diebold predeceased her.
She graduated from Chapin School in New York in 1957. She spent weekends and summers on her family's farm, Toplands, in Roxbury, and there developed her lifelong passion for farming. In 1960 she married Frank Joseph Gavel, with whom she had her three children. The marriage ended in divorce.
While her children were young, she worked part-time as a teacher and girls' sports coach at Brookfield High School. She worked as a coach at Shepaug Valley High School, helped run Toplands, and later served on the board of Rumsey Hall School in Washington, Conn.
After marrying Mr Terni in 1977, she moved to Lakeville, Conn., where they resided until 1985, when she and her husband moved to Yemassee and began restoring Brewton Plantation, turning it into a working farm raising sheep and goats, as well as a hunting and conservation preserve. Following Mr Terni’s death in 1997, she became even more deeply involved in land preservation efforts in the Low Country and elsewhere, as well as sponsoring many programs to help the children of the area.
She loved South Carolina and as a year-round resident felt truly at home there and grateful to be able to be the farmer she had always been in her heart. A great natural beauty and former debutante standing six feet tall, Ms Terni preferred to live in jeans and work boots. She was never more herself than when driving her tractor or bottle-feeding a sick lamb.
She inspired several generations of young people to be who they were, try their hardest, and make a difference in their town, country, and world. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Burial will be private. A memorial celebration of her life will be held in November. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to GrowFood Carolina, 990 Morrison Drive, Charleston SC 29403 and/or Boys Farm, Inc, PO Box 713, Newberry SC 29108-0713.