Diane Marie (Leyva) Nichols (67) was welcomed and reunited with her family on August 25, 2023.
Diane always made sure to live up to that name. She lived and worked in Graham County and held various positions throughout Safford. In the early years you may remember her working with her mom at The Casa Mañana, Factory 2-U and K-Mart. Diane was one of the original employees hired to open the new Safford Wal-Mart store that was coming to town. Diane opened the Wal-mart and even took a picture with Sam Walton. Diane grew so much professionally at Wal-Mart and even gained a husband. Eventually Diane was offered the property manager position at Casa de Flores in Safford. Diane excelled in this position and received several awards for excellent service, including manager of the year. The connections she made with her tenants were unmatched. She was not just the manager she was a friend; she cared about them and helped them navigate. You could not stop by to visit her without visiting with whatever tenant was in her office. Diane made sure no one felt lonely, she definitely knew how to connect with the elderly. She made everyone feel like they were her favorite person, that was truly a gift. Diane’s favorite past time was camping every year at Cedar Springs for Easter. This was a tradition that her mom Mona started when she was young. All of the kids, grandkids and extended family members have fond memories of camping with her and her family. This was something Diane would look forward to every year. This was so much more than camping to her; it was an annual family reunion. Family time and forcing everyone to eat is what she enjoyed most.
Diane is survived by: her husband of 29 years, Kenneth Ray Nichols, Jr.; her children, Kristie Kieffer (Mike), Stacey Barsky (Brian) and Ric Hawkins (Rikay). Diane’s nine grandchildren and several great-grandchildren affectionately referred to her as ‘Crazy Nana’. Diane was preceded in death by: her parents, Ray and Ramona Leyva; her brothers, Jimmy and Joseph Leyva; and her sister, Patti Cunningham.
The family would like to thank Pima Fire Dept., Pima Police Dept., Graham County Sheriff’s Dept., Ambulance service and Vining Funeral Home for all their assistance.
Private family services will be conducted at a later date.