Diana C. Coe, 85, artist, volunteer

May 04, 2004

Diana C. Coe, an artist and volunteer, died Friday of congestive heart failure at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Ruxton resident was 85.

Born Diana Chittenden in Burlington, Iowa, she was raised there and in St. Louis and Owings Mills. A 1936 graduate of Garrison Forest School, she attended Wells College in Aurora, N.Y., and later studied at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Family members said she began drawing cartoon sketches of life at home to decorate letters to her husband, Ward B. Coe Jr., an attorney who was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. The couple married in 1942. He died in 1996.

She painted watercolors of Maryland landscapes, beach scenes and whimsical pictures of children and dogs. She also illustrated children's stories and continued painting until several weeks ago.

"She mainly gave her paintings away," said a son, Ward Coe of Baltimore. "She worked in bright colors. There was never a dark thought in anything she painted."

About 30 years ago, she became an activist for the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in Owings Mills. She hiked there daily for many years.

Mrs. Coe taught reading as a volunteer at the central Enoch Pratt Free Library and served breakfasts at Our Daily Bread in downtown Baltimore. She also served meals at Paul's Place in Southwest Baltimore.

She was a volunteer at a Head Start program in downtown Baltimore and worked at a summer camp for underprivileged children at St. John's Episcopal Church in Butler.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Smith and Greely avenues in Mount Washington, where she was a member.

Survivors also include two other sons, Henry Coe and Michael Coe, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Dina Coe of Berkeley Springs, W. Va.; a brother, John Chittenden of Baltimore; a sister, Mary MacNeil Holton of Pelham, N.Y.; and four grandchildren.

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