Celebrating My Mother, Not an Ordinary Obituary

My mom passed away from a long illness this past week and my family asked me to write the obituary. I know the typical obituary is a boring summary of a life, but I did not want to write the typical version. Dianne Eichelberger, wife of Frank “Hardrock” Eichelberger, gardener, chef, pianist and accomplished traveler died on December 2, 2016 at age 85. She was a lover of home grown tomatoes, John Wayne, any old western movie, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and a good romance novel. She and dad never met a crossword puzzle they could not knock out eventually. Periodically they would call to ask a puzzle question on more “recent” culture questions.


She met Frank on a double date at Hayden Lake, Idaho in 1948, and according to my dad she told her mother that night she met the man she would marry. My mom has told the story to me that it was dad who said that the first night!

They were married July 16, 1949 and were together for almost 60 years before my dad passed away in 2011. It was amazing to see them together. My dad was 6’6” and she was 5’2”! My mom was tough! My dad had quit smoking over 30 years before he passed away from lung cancer. My mom smoked for almost 65 years and never quit and she died of various complications but not lung cancer.


They loved to travel the world, often on incentive trips Dad would earn through being a Ford dealer. They circled the world a few times and took some amazing trips and cruises. They taught me the difference between a “trip and a vacation”. A trip is when you bring the kids…..on a vacation you leave them at home! Usually they took a trip! I do have great memories of going with them for two Christmas trips to Hong Kong and Copenhagen when I was in college.

They spent many winters at their condo in Manzanillo, Mexico they had for about 15 years. She would love to get her time in the sun on vacation and never had any skin cancer issues. She had amazing hair, even at 85 it was still blonde and she would go to the beauty salon every Thursday like clockwork at 10am.

She was always a fashionable dresser and had her own style. She loved her St. John knits and left many beautiful pieces. If anyone is a size 2 please contact me! I love that picture of my mom and dad together. She was seldom photographed it seems without her huge sunglasses. She wore them for my entire life and it is funny how them came in and out of style over the years.


She was a wonderful cook and was famous for her fried chicken, home made tomato sauce, salad dressings, Weiner schnitzel, roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding to name a few. She was obsessed with growing the tomatoes each year and had a terrific green thumb. Boy could she grow and nurture houseplants, especially succulents like Jade Trees. I am bringing some starters home with me!

She and dad did watch their share of Fox News! They listened to Rush Limbaugh every day religiously for over 30 years! On my last trip to see her in late October with our kids we talked about the election. She was happy that she lived long enough to see Donald Trump elected President and defeat Hillary.

She passed away at Hospice of Spokane North. We would like to thank everyone there for helping to make her final days as comfortable as possible. My sister Kristy was a loving and patient caregiver for many years and made such a difference for my mom. She did have the patience of Job dealing with Mom who could be very difficult the last several years.

I will miss calling her and getting her words of encouragement. It never gets old hearing your mom is proud of you.  I wanted to give you a sense of who my mom was to celebrate her.

Mom is survived by her three children Peggy Ann McConnochie and her husband John McConnochie; Kristy Langbehn; myself and my wife Miryana and our children Madison, Davis, and Lucas. Kirsty’s son Bob Langbehn and his wife Jennifer, and their son, mom’s great grandson, Connor.

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