Diane McCracken, 70, of Polk City, Iowa passed away on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, at MercyOne Hospice Care in Johnston, surrounded by her family. Her death followed a courageous three-year battle with ALS, in which she was lovingly cared for at home by her husband and her family.
A celebration of Diane’s life will be held Saturday, January 21 at Lutheran Church of Hope in Ankeny. A visitation will be held from 9am-11am, with a service starting at 11am. A luncheon will follow at the church.
Diane Mae James was born on February 21, 1952, in Toledo, Ohio to Daniel and Dorothy (LaFaver) James. The family moved to Mishawaka, Indiana where she grew up and received her education. It’s also where she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Wendell McCracken, while they both were working at Bonanza Steakhouse.
On August 14, 1971, Diane was united in marriage to Bob at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church in South Bend, Indiana, and have been blessed with two daughters, Lori and Molly. In following Bob’s work commitments, their family made their home in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Waukesha, Wisconsin, and St. Charles, Illinois, before moving to Polk City, which provided an opportunity for the family to be together during their retirement.
In addition to her love for her family and friends, Diane’s passion was her career in banking. Over the course of over twenty-year career, she catapulted from a teller position to the highest-achieving branch manager and Vice President at Fifth Third Bank, out of over 250 branch locations in the Chicago area. Her success came from her commitment to her customers, her community, and her internal drive and persistence to succeed in anything she tackled. Her mother used to say “if you want something done, ask Diane”. And that determination could be seen in every aspect of life.
Diane’s zeal for life could be seen in all areas, and she was always extremely active. That continued when her and Bob moved to Polk City, when she was 65 years old. They loved their Tournament Club neighborhood friends, and she started a walking group, took part in a grannie basketball league, active at the fitness center and aerobics, and enjoyed boating (and even waterskiing) on Saylorville Lake.
She was always a dedicated and loyal friend, extremely active in her PEO educational organization, and a faithful servant of Christ. Most of all, she loved spending time with Bob, her daughters, and grandsons who all held a special place in her heart.
Diane was diagnosed with ALS in September 2019. ALS is a terrible disease that withers away all muscle strength from the body, and in which there is no effective treatments or a cure. She immediately became actively involved in raising awareness and contributions for research. She was passionate that a cure must be found so that no other family had to go on this painful journey. She spoke with members of our federal legislature about the need for research funding, she participated in a medical drug trial, was honored at two Iowa Wild hockey games, and her team “Diane’s Warriors” was the top ALS Association fundraising team within the state of Iowa, due to her determination and her many supporters that rallied around her.
Diane will be deeply missed by her husband of 52 years, Bob McCracken; daughters, Lori A. (Bryan) Seaton and Molly D. (Ryan) Kralka; grandsons, Nathan Sheil, Bennett Kralka, and Maxwell Kralka. She is also survived by her siblings, David James, Robert (Diane) James, and Daniel (Kristine) James; sister-in-law, Cathy (William) Alwine; and a lifelong friend “sister by heart”, Sherry (Gardner) Hanna. She will also be deeply missed by her many relatives and close friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, parents-in law, and a brother-in-law, Gary McCracken.
We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude for the care and support Diane received from ALS Association, Iowa Chapter, MercyOne Hospice, and Dr. Christopher Nance and team at the University of Iowa Hospital. Memorial contributions may be directed to the ALS Association or PEO Educational Fund.