Dianne Simon Avery, 79, former community relations director for New Hanover County Schools

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Dianne Simon Avery
Dianne Simon Avery

WILMINGTON — Dianne Simon AveryDianne Simon Avery, 79, died at her home Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, after an extended illness.

Born in Kinston to Albert Stephen and Margaret Brown Simon, Dianne was a resident of Wilmington for over 70 years. She was educated at St. Mary Catholic School and New Hanover High School and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill (1959).

She taught school for 19 years, at Broughton High, New Hanover High and Roland Grise Middle Schools and then served as Community Relations Director for New Hanover County Schools for 21 years.

She helped to bring the resources of community organizations to schools by serving on more than 75 boards, including The Cameron Art Museum, Cape Fear Community College Foundation, New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation, Chamber Music of Wilmington, Aquarium Society, Wilmington Health Access for Teens, ROCAME, Black History Month, North Carolina Azalea Festival, North Carolina Scholars and many others. She also served on the board of the Figure Eight Island Yacht Club. She was instrumental in the creation of Best Foot Forward, a talent show put on annually by New Hanover County Schools since 1989.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Lenoir Avery, and brother, Albert “Stevie” Simon Jr.

Surviving are her daughter, Ashley Burton Wilson (Wade); sister, Judith Simon Massey (Mark); and beloved grandchildren, Spencer Burton Wilson (Charlotte) and Emily Dianne Wilson. She also leaves behind a special companion, William Stafford Foster Jr. of Burlington.

Throughout her life as a wife, a mother, adoring and proud grandparent, and her career in education, she had never forgotten that it is important to live by the secret of the Fox as explained in Saint Exupery’s, The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

There will be a visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at the home of Wade and Ashley Wilson at 1709 Princess St. A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, at the Cameron Art Museum.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cameron Art Museum, Opera House Theater Company, or the North Carolina Aquarium Society.