Diane Pona, who served 12 years on the Langley Board of Education, has died at the age of 66.
Pona passed away on Oct. 2. A celebration of life for the longtime trustee will be held on Saturday, March 12.
Pona’s daughter Candy Ashdown said her mother was born in Vancouver in 1949. She and her husband Lyle moved to Langley in 1977 to raise their family.
Ashdown said her mother didn’t hesitate to get involved, including in her school PAC, the District Parental Advisory Council, and with everything from Community Crime Watch to her daughters’ Ukrainian dancing troupe.
She was passionate about local and provincial politics and was a strong advocate for public education.
She served several terms as a trustee, first from 1990-96, and then from 1999 to 2005. She ran again in 2008 and remained passionately involved with issues in the Langley school system.
Pona ran both as an independent candidate and for the Langley Citizens Coalition, which formed during the turbulent late 1990s.
Ashdown said her mom was particularly proud of her time on the board’s Aboriginal Education Committee.
Pona was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006, and kept going, joining the Langley Parkinson’s Support Group and coordinating it for several years.
She also loved gardening, even receiving a Langley City Communities in Bloom award one year for her garden.
Pona is survived by her husband, Lyle, daughters Ashdown and Nikki Hay, three granddaughters, two sisters, and nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, her family is asking for donations in tribute to Pona to the Parkinson’s Society of B.C.
A celebration of life will be held March 12, 2016 at the Steelworkers Hall, #202, 9292–200th St., at 2 p.m. For the online invitation, go to event.pingg.com/CelebrateDiane.