Von Ohlen, Diane Louise 64

Diane Louise Von Ohlen, 64, of Cokato, MN, died October 22, 2023, peacefully at home.

She was born in Minneapolis, MN on December 10, 1958, to Adrienne & Gerald Brown, and was baptized as a baby. She grew up as a middle child with two older sisters and two younger brothers. Her younger years were spent in St. Louis Park, MN until they moved to Minnetonka, MN when she was 10.

During high school, Diane learned German and took a school trip to Germany in 1976. She graduated in 1977. Diane was always an ‘A’ student and continued to strive for academic excellence throughout college. She attended University of Wisconsin – Stout for 1.5 years before transferring to the University of Minnesota – Minneapolis and later going to Minneapolis Business School to become an executive secretary. She started working at a law firm while finishing school by filing paperwork and running errands. Even though she didn’t go to law school, they offered her a position when she graduated because she was so good at her job.
She worked her way up to being a paralegal, writing legal briefs and other legal documents.
Diane’s focus while working was saving enough money to buy a hobby farm so she could own a horse. She accomplished this goal and was able to put a down payment on a small ranch in Waverly, MN in early fall of 1988. She was moved in by February 1989.

On October 22, 1988 Diane met her husband, Allan Von Ohlen, during a wedding reception; she knew the bride and Al was an usher who knew the groom. They got married on May 18, 1991, at St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake, MN, with the reception taking place on their ranch. Diane grew up in the Christian faith, she was raised Catholic and later confirmed as a Lutheran in 1991 before the wedding.

Diane continued working as a paralegal at a law firm — even after bearing three children. She would work from home and stop by the office every couple of weeks. In 1993 she was the original remote worker. In 1998, after her third kid started walking, she became a full-time stay-at-home mom.

Diane & Allan’s first child, Jennifer, was born January 30, 1993. Connie was born October 18, 1994, and their son, Henry, was born October 6, 1997. They all lived in Waverly, MN until moving to Cokato, MN in 2000 to a larger hobby farm with a bigger barn.

Diane was the secretary and assisted with VBS at Stockholm Lutheran Church for a few years, and continued to help with church activities when the family started attending Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church in 2004. She was one of the church librarians for many years and taught 2nd grade Sunday School as well. Diane also assisted with township elections as a voting judge for a number of years.

In 2010 Diane was diagnosed with a serious heart condition that limited her abilities to do things, but that didn’t stop her from enjoying life. She continued to do limited chores and duties on the farm and in the house using about one third of her previous abilities. Diane actively helped and supported her children through school; she attended all of their extracurricular activities.

The family took a trip out west to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park in 2018. Diane had made the remark to Al while on their honeymoon in Jackson Hole, “We have to take our kids here sometime.” They were happy to have accomplished this dream.
On May 18, 2019, their eldest daughter Jenny, got married to David Niemela. Diane and Allan welcomed their first grandchild, Norah, on May 13, 2020, and their second, Amos, on February 15th 2022. Another is expected early January 2024.

In June of 2021, Diane got diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease without a cure. On the way to the U of M for her diagnosis, Diane said, “God doesn’t make mistakes, let’s go find out what I got.” Diane had been showing symptoms of things not working right. After her diagnosis, she didn’t want to go back to church. When asked why she said, “It’s just going to bring everybody down. They have all been praying and pulling for me.” She was genuinely sad for how the diagnosis would affect others. She did resume church attendance until it was too physically exhausting.

She continued to enjoy life every day by spending quality time with family and friends, despite the progression of the disease. Even when she couldn’t move around the house like she used to, she was content sitting by the window and watching the birds. Diane honestly didn’t spend any time thinking about what she was missing or can’t do. She once said, “I just think about how blessed I am and thankful for Jesus saving me. This is nothing compared to what he suffered for me. My family and friends make me overwhelmed with love. How can I possibly complain or feel sorry for myself.”

On July 29, 2023, Allan & Diane hosted a Brown family reunion with their kids, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, grand nieces, and grand nephews on the farm.

Diane was so selfless, loving & caring — very Christ-like. Whenever she was teased about some quirky mannerism or silly mistake, Diane was the first one to laugh at herself.
Diane was a cheerleader for everyone else, always excited to hear about other people’s successes and one to always put others first. Diane not only taught us how to live with her fun positive nature, she also taught us how to die while just feeling very blessed and content with life.

Diane went Home to be with the Lord on the 35th anniversary of meeting her husband, Al. They always celebrated the day they met and Al will continue to do so. She was looking into her husband’s loving, caring eyes when she left as he too was looking into her beautiful blue eyes for the last time. Diane always mentioned it was those kind eyes that made her agree to dance with Al during the reception.

Diane enjoyed spending time with family, taking care of her many pets, maintaining the hobby farm and farm animals (horses in particular), bird watching (especially cardinals), having morning coffee, going to the cabin and listening and watching for loons, being outside, antiquing with family, learning German, gardening, puzzles, reading, watching the Minnesota Vikings, scrapbooking, building her many collections, board games, and being a proud Minnesotan.

Diane is survived by her husband Allan Von Ohlen, her daughter Jenny (David) Niemela; grandchildren Norah & Amos Niemela; daughter Connie Von Ohlen; son Henry Von Ohlen; sister Eileen (Dave) DeReus; brother Mike (Margaret Pyzdrowski) Brown; brother Tony (Lisa) Brown; 15 nieces and nephews – Sarah Callahan, Beth (Johnny) Geldernick, Dan DeReus, Mary (Søren) Madsen, John Weinauer, Ted Brown, Maddy Brown, Sam (Josh) McKinney, Steph Brown, Aaron Brown (Emily Castanias), Evan Brown; eight grandnieces and nephews – Heidi, Sam, Drew, Peter Geldernick, Silas, Benjamin, Liam Madsen, Jake McKinney.

Diane is preceded by her grandparents Clarence & Ethel Brown and John & Louise Lijewski; parents Adrienne & Gerald Brown; sister Renee; Nephew (Ryan) Callahan.

Fall is Diane’s favorite season, feel free to wear cozy sweaters, flannel, or fleece (Buffalo Plaid is her favorite) in her honor during the visitation or funeral. The visitation will take place at Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church in Cokato, MN, Monday, Oct. 30 from 4-7 p.m. The funeral will take place Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. with an hour visitation beforehand.