Obituary for Diana Kurth
DIANA PHYLLIS EVINGTON KURTH (8/4/21 to 2/7/17)
The British Empire has lost a dear Daughter. Beloved wife, mother, “Grannie,” and great-grandmother Diana Phyllis Evington Kurth passed away on February 7th at the age of 95 after an eventful life lived on both sides of The Pond. Born August 4, 1921, Diana was raised in Harpenden, England at the Hardenwick boarding school for boys where her father was Headmaster. There she learned to love education and sports; later earning awards for English literature and tennis at St. Hilda’s School for Girls.
Diana turned 18 a month before Hitler’s troops crossed into Poland. World War II imprinted and defined her life. She worked in the apple orchards and potato fields of the Hertfordshire countryside as part of the Women’s Land Army. Many years later the English Parliament honored those women with a medal for their service.
A chance decision on April 20, 1944 to go to a dance held for an American Army unit stationed nearby led her to meet U.S. Army Captain Guenther Kurth from St. Louis. His dancing, good manners, and persistence won her heart.
On D-Day, restricted from speaking of his whereabouts, Guenther called to tell her that she could find him in the town where Milton was buried. In that moment a long-forgotten fact learned in literature class at St. Hilda’s came to mind. Milton was buried in Chalfont St. Giles! Diana flew out the door, raced to the village, and boarded a bus and then two more to get to her American soldier. Thousands of Allied troops were staging for the invasion at St. Giles. For hours she searched in vain. Near to the point of giving up Diana glanced at a passing jeep, and there was Guenther. He called for his driver to halt and Diana ran to embrace her Captain. He declared that if he came back safely he would ask for her hand. He did, and they wed on May 16th, 1945. Guenther died in 1975 after 30 years of marriage to his British war bride.
In 1946 upon arriving in St. Louis Diana first worked at the British Consulate, then an ad agency, and then 22 years as a preschool teacher. Diana cherished her English heritage, never giving up her British passport even after becoming a U.S. citizen. She made it a point to take each of her six grandchildren as well as her two daughters in law to England to see where she grew up as well as the country’s historic sites.
Diana was a member of The Daughters of the British Empire for over forty years, becoming a board member for the group’s charitable home in Brookfield, Illinois. She was a faithful parishioner of Grace Episcopal Church for 66 years. Having experienced one war, she was active in peace groups during the Vietnam War. She was an ardent political junkie, supporting mostly Democratic candidates. And you could always count on Diana to know the score of the latest Cardinals game and their place in the standings.
She is survived by her three children, sons John Lawrence Kurth (Debbie) of Villa Park, Illinois, Christopher Henry Kurth (Carla) of Kirkwood, Missouri and daughter Corinna Elizabeth Baker (Keith) of Springfield, Illinois. She is also survived by grandchildren Krista (Patrick) Mulcahy, Lisa Kurth and Joel Torres, Teresa (Kyle) Pedersen, Lindsay (Chad) Amen, Michael Kurth and Sara Wahlberg, and Jared, and by great-grandchildren Ian, Connor, and Avery.
With her enthusiasm for life, family, and education, it can be said that Diana Evington Kurth lived up to the motto of her father’s boarding school: “Let’s Play the Game.”
Services: Memorial service Sat., April 1, 1:00pm at Grace Episcopal Church, 514 E. Argonne Dr., Kirkwood with reception following. Interment at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Grace Episcopal Church Legacy Fund.