, Newburyport, MA

August 29, 2013

Diane E. (Gagnon) Symmes, 64

Amesbury, Peabody — Diane E. (Gagnon) Symmes, 64, formerly of Peabody, beloved wife of David P. Symmes of Amesbury, with whom she shared 44 years of marriage, died unexpectedly on Sunday, August 25, 2013, in Newburyport.

Born in Peabody, she was the daughter of the late Arthur and Madeline (Spence) Gagnon. She grew up in Peabody and graduated from Peabody High School, Class of 1966. Diane was a Worthy Advisor for Rainbow Girls. She then studied at Salem Hospital School of Nursing from where she graduated, Class of 1969. She lived in Topsfield for many years, and lived in Amesbury for the last 10 years.

Diane began her nursing career at Mass. General Hospital. When her son, David, was born, she wanted to be closer to home to spend more time with her family and became a Nursing Supervisor at North Shore Medical Center—Union Hospital in Lynn. She later returned to MGH where she specialized in cardiac nursing. She worked in the Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit (CSICU) for over 25 years. She was a member of the first heart valve transplant team at MGH. Diane served as a member of the nursing transplant educational team from MGH sent to educate cardiac nurses at Salem Hospital as a part of their new Open Heart Transplant Program.

Diane had a special gift of seeing the beauty in the simplest of things, and turning that simple thing into something unique, creative, and special. She had the knack of finding the perfect gift to fit the occasion and person, making that moment the most memorable for friends and family. You could see her style and creativity expressed in her beloved Antique Colonial home in Amesbury, which she opened as part of several community strolls to raise funds for the Congregational Church, Animal Rescue League, or other projects.

She enjoyed boating, was a collector of Andrew Wyeth prints, loved animals and baked dog biscuits as gifts every holiday for family’s and friends’ pets. She also enjoyed spending time at the family camp in Ossipee, N.H., and at Samoset in Rockland, Maine. Her proudest moments were being spent with her three beautiful grandchildren.

She is survived by her husband, David Symmes of Amesbury; a son and daughter-in-law, David A. and Jennifer Symmes of Danvers; three grandchildren, Caden, Liam and Maeve Symmes of Danvers; a brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Pamela Gagnon of Danvers; a brother-in-law, Alan and his wife, Carol Symmes, of Groveland; her beloved dog, Hunter Luke; many nieces, nephews, and extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. She cherished her many close friends and co-workers who touched her life, as she will be dearly missed and remembered by all.

ARRANGEMENTS: Following cremation, relatives and friends are invited to gather on Saturday, August 31, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home, 82 Lynn St., Peabody. A visitation will be held on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Urn burial will be in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Peabody. Memorial donations may be made to either the Animal Rescue League of Salem (NH), 4 Sarl Dr., Salem, NH 03079 or to the Merrimack Valley Feline Rescue Society, Route 110, Methuen, MA. Please visit for online obituary and to sign condolences.