DR. DIANE CECELIA DRIGOT

Posted On October 27th, 2013 -

DR. DIANE CECELIA DRIGOT (1948-2013) Dr. Diane Cecelia Drigot died at St. Francis hospice on October 14, 2013, from complications of a stem cell transplant to treat acute myelogenous leukemia. She was 65 years old. She is survived by her mother, Genevieve Drigot, her sister, Karen Stone, her nephew, Robert Stone, his wife Kelly, and their two children, Lexi and Tyler, her grand niece and grand nephew. Diane was born to parents Stanley and Genevieve Drigot in Chicago, Illinois in May 1948. She received an A.B. in 1969 in Conservation of Natural Resources, from Barnard College, Columbia University; and an M.S. (1972) and Ph.D. (1975) in Natural Resources (Policy, Planning, and Management) from University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. In 1987 she was honored with the Distinguished Alumna Award from Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. An early feminist, Diane was one of two women in the National Park Service to first wear uniform pants instead of a skirt as a seasonal park ranger-naturalist at Katmai National Monument in Alaska. Early in her professional career Diane held positions as an environmental policy research analyst, a university professor/environmental studies program coordinator, and an environmental impact consultant. Committed to ensuring ‘practical, working knowledge’, she continued, throughout her career, to mentor students through the School of Natural Resources and Environment’s Alumni Association, and as an affiliate graduate faculty at the University of Hawai’i. For 30 years Diane worked in the Environmental Department at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawai’i. She was responsible for an integrated ecosystem approach to natural and cultural resources management, environmental restoration, and environmental documentation under the National Environmental Policy Act. Diane is widely recognized for her award-winning record of partnering with military operators, regulators, and the public to steward MCB Hawai’i natural resources while sustaining combat readiness. She was instrumental in evolving the base’s Environmental Department from a staff of one (herself) and creating an award-winning department that has earned 30 national environmental awards. She received more than 20 personal awards for her community-based conservation efforts from diverse agencies (Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sierra Club, Hawai’i Audubon Society, Native Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Hawai’i’s State Legislature, Honolulu City Council, Kaneohe Neighborhood Board (Citizen of the Year (2003)); Secretary of the Navy (Conservation Individual of the Year (2005, 1995)); and was one of six finalists for a Service to America Medal honoring the nation’s top civil servants (2004). She is remembered by many as the ‘bird lady’, an ardent protector of the native Hawaiian birds of Mokapu Peninsula, in part through an annual ‘Mud Ops’ training where U.S. Marines use 26-ton amphibious tracked vehicles to tear up pickleweed in wetlands to improve endangered waterbird habitat. Diane retired from her position as a Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist at MCB Hawai’i in December 2012. She was recently awarded a Commendation for Meritorious Civilian Service from the U.S. Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps (2013) for her professional and innovative approach to natural resources management. Throughout her career, Diane made significant contributions as a volunteer both to her profession and to the communities in which she lived. Hawai’i became her home in 1977 and she spent the ensuing years working tirelessly to conserve the natural and cultural resources of Windward O’ahu. She helped develop school curriculum regarding Windward O’ahu wetlands and published over 20 articles, papers, and books regarding land use, ecosystem management and natural/cultural resources. She was a member of the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club, and a Founding Member and past Vice-President of Kawai Nui Heritage Foundation. Diane practiced the Hawaiian art of hula for 14 years as part of Halau Mohala ‘Ilima, continued to dance throughout the ‘isles’, and paddled for several years with the Waimanalo Canoe Club. She enjoyed traveling, walks on the beach with her German Shepherds, and staying connected with her heritage through the Lithuanian Community of Hawai’i. She leaves a legacy of integrating modern scientific understanding, Hawaiian cultural views and values, and engaged communities to further stewardship and environmental protection. She touched many directly by her work and inspired many more by her spirit. Diane truly lived ‘Aloha’. Her passion and commitment is echoed by friends and colleagues – a special person who has made a real difference and whose contributions will carry forward to make the world a better place. A service in celebration of Diane’s life will be held in January 2014. Condolences may be sent to the family via her sister, Karen Stone, 11600 Academy Rd NE, Apt 524; Albuquerque, NM 87111. The family wishes any contributions in Diane’s memory be sent to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave N, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109 (Online: www.fhcrc.org), or to a charity of choice.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran