Saturday, June 19, 2021

Our hearts are broken with the loss of our wife, sister, aunt and friend, Mary Diane (nee Hart) Hadley. Known by all as Diane, or simply ‘Di’, she was born in Boylston, to a large loving family of 10 children, on July 21, 1950, of the late Earle and Jean Hart.

It was immediately evident from a young age that Diane had three innate qualities that would last a lifetime: a loving gentle soul; an adventurous spirit; and a love of animals.

That adventurous spirit saw her leave home, for a few years, to live and work in Halifax and Calgary, but she returned to Boylston in 1972 to build her life. And what a life it was!

She followed in her mother’s footsteps and became a teacher at GMHS for 19 years. Like all things in her life, she gave her all to teaching. She was devoted to her students and was so happy when they succeeded, not only academically, but personally. She kept in touch with many of them, even after graduation. Not only was Diane a teacher to her students, but also to all who knew her. She taught us all – by example – how to laugh, be creative, have fun, to find happiness in the little things, to be kind and generous; and, in her last teaching moment, to be courageous and be brave.

In 1975, she married the love of her life, Shawn Hadley. In some respects, they seemed polar opposites but on the important points they were always in sync. They travelled, spent time at their camp and trailer at the beach. They raised many fur babies and especially loved their black labs, who were truly their children.

Diane forged many special friendships, including the “Waah Girls” that she lived with in Halifax and Calgary. They became lifelong friends that made a commitment to have an annual reunion that has gone on for more than 40 years – a weekend or longer together filled with laughter and fun.

That same adventurous spirit would see Diane become a world traveller; always seeking adventure and exploring a new path, wherever she went. She travelled many continents, exploring as many of the off the beaten paths as she could with friends and family, including an African safari with her husband, Shawn, and a Machu Picchu exploration to Peru with her brother, Jack. Her last trip was to NYC with her sister, Audrey; niece, Cindy; and great-niece, Lauren, just days before our entire world was put on lockdown by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Diane always offered the best advice and always knew what to say to make you feel better; to be in her mere presence was soothing and reassuring. She was generous with her praise and always offered a kind word and her gorgeous smile to everyone she encountered. She loved laughter, music, good food, good wine, cute shoes and could put an outfit together and look fabulous. But most of all she loved the people she surrounded herself with, and we will adore her forever.

Although Diane did not have children, to many of her nieces and nephews, she was a second mother. Her unwavering love, support and guidance were such a gift and will remain a cherished memory.

Diane is survived by her devoted and loving husband, Shawn; four-paws best friend and fur baby, Murphy “Murphina”; sister, Audrey (Sidney) MacPherson, Manchester; brothers, Jack (Regina) Hart, Guysborough; Kevin (Brenda) Hart, Alberta.

She was predeceased by brothers, Eric, David, Gerald, Bobby and Hazen; sister, Donna.

Special thanks to Dr. Barb Bell, Allison Nickerson and the Guysborough Memorial Hospital palliative care team; and Carmel Long of continuing care for their compassionate care.

Donations may be made to the Guysborough Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Foundation.

A service will be held at a later date due to COVID-19.


This is a life.

This is a life well lived.

This is a life well loved.

This is a life that encouraged, touched, taught and inspired so many.

This is a life that ended too soon.

This is a life that will never be forgotten.