Colonel Diane Bolton Berard, Newport News, VA/formerly Janesville, WI (1955-2014)
September 22, 1955 - January 26, 2014
The battle is over, the last trumpet has sounded. Once again cancer has won. Colonel Diane Bolton Berard, United States Army Retired, lost her 13 year war with breast cancer on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Diane was born on Sept. 22, 1955, in Janesville, WI, to the late Clark Bolton and Ann Jacobson Bolton. A product of Janesville Public Schools, she graduated from Craig High School in 1973, and went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army in 1977. She later earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California. In her almost 27 years in the US Army, Colonel Berard was awarded the Legion of Merit, eight (8) Meritorious Service Medals and two (2) Army Commendation Medals, to name just a few. A more detailed description of her career was entered into the Congressional Record by Honorable Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, page E1877, 24 September 2003.
Diane was an avid Green Bay Packer fan; in fact, the grandchildren claimed they could hear her yelling all the way to Illinois, when the Packers messed up. Since their inception, Diane also became a Washington Nationals baseball fan.
One of the great mysteries in life, at least in her eyes, was why so many people thought and called her an inspiration. Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2001, she underwent 21 medical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation while still working. Though she was asked to stay on active duty, she felt she was unable to perform her duties in a manner acceptable to her and retired in December 2003.
Diane and Ron threw all their energy into completing her bucket list; starting with 25 items that grew to over 100. She tackled her bucket list by walking on all seven continents, walking in all 50 states, and sailing all the oceans of the world. The only incomplete item was attending a baseball game in all the MLB parks; only Seattle and Oakland were left undone.
Diane’s “spare time” was devoted to the Peninsula Pathfinders of Virginia; the area’s largest walking (volksmarching) club. She served in many different positions, most recently as the President. She also spent time working with the local chapter of MOA. Even when she couldn’t attend meetings, she helped out with e-mail lists and other duties.
Diane is survived by her husband of 37 years, Rolland (Ron) Berard; step-daughter Jean-Marie Taylor and son-in-law, Matthew, of Normal, IL; brother, Kenneth Bolton (Dona) of Janesville, WI; sister, Dr. Ruth Bolton of Madison Lake, MN; brother, John Bolton (Lucia) of Orlando, FL; brother, Dan Bolton (Ann) of Dover, MN; brother, Steve Bolton (Peggy) of Woodbury, MN; sister, Margaret Otte (Michael) of St. Michael, MN; brother, Raymond Bolton of Wisconsin Rapids, WI; sister, Elizabeth Robb (David) of Green Bay, WI; step-mother, Jean Bolton of Rockford, MN; and her two favorite people, granddaughter, Morgan Berard Taylor and grandson, Ethan Berard Taylor, both of Normal, IL. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL CATHOLIC CHURCH. Burial in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors, will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers (Diane was allergic), please make a donation in her name to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at http://www.bcrfcure.org/.
Arrangements by W. J. SMITH & SON FUNERAL HOME, Newport News,VA. Condolences may be left at www.wjsmithandsonfh.com.