Sandra Dianne Holland Howe

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Surrounded by her loving family and devoted caregivers, Sandra Dianne Holland Howe, formally of Suffolk, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Jan. 8, 2024, at The Arlington of Naples in Naples, Florida. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 65 years, Capt. Frederic Northey Howe, Jr., USN.

Dianne was born January 4, 1935, in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., the only child of the late James Howard Holland and Mary Irene Peters Holland of Suffolk. After graduating from Suffolk High School, Dianne attended Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg and then continued to the University of Virginia nursing school. She later returned to her alma mater, Mary Washington College, and graduated in 1991 with a BLS degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Through the years Dianne worked as an executive secretary for the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Fredericksburg Historical Society.

Dianne was an adoring wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Family was always most important to her. She made it her priority that as the duty stations changed over the years, she would put forth thoughtful and loving effort into making her family’s new home just as beautiful and inviting as the last one. She dedicated herself to raising her four children as she carried on with the many duties of a devoted military wife. She was especially proud of her close involvement in the Navy Ombudsman Program in which she was a liaison who worked to connect and support other military families. She prided herself in always being of service to others as she volunteered her time with a caring and giving heart. She assisted in her children’s schools, taught piano, participated in Girl Scouting as a young girl and then later as an adult troop leader. She also volunteered as a church member, sang in several church choirs, and joined numerous community organizations such as Welcome Wagon and was a board member in the Fredericksburg Salvation Army. She always gave to others and encouraged them to do so in return.


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Dianne, with her immense Southern charm and elegance, was extremely generous, warm, and welcoming. She gladly gave of herself and inspired others by sharing and teaching them some of her many talents. Needlework, painting, ceramics, interior design, cooking and entertaining family and friends brought her great joy, but it was the special hobby of rose gardening that she shared with her husband that brought years of happiness to them both. Their Navy retirement years were spent designing and tending to their beautiful gardens at their lovely home called “Rosehearty” which was located above the banks of the Falmouth River in Fredericksburg. They worked together to create the Rappahannock Rose Society to help educate other interested local rosarians. They both contributed their time in local community beautification projects such as designing and creating memorable rose gardens for its citizens and visitors to enjoy in downtown Fredericksburg. Sharing their love of roses with family, friends, and their community, especially those in need of special care in local nursing homes, made them feel as though every blossom they nurtured was, as Dianne would say, “a true blessing”. Dianne was a wonderful role model and leaves a legacy of love with all her family and friends who will miss her dearly.

Dianne is survived by her four children, Frederic Northey Howe, III of Colonial Beach (Tanya), Martha Irene Brooks of Sarasota, Florida (Mayson), Dianne L. Purin of Naples, Florida, Amy Etheridge Wiedle of Spotsylvania (Chris). Also surviving her are seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Dianne will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband, parents, and aunt in a graveside service in the Holland family plot at Holly Lawn cemetery in Suffolk, at 2 p.m. on January 20. Funeral arrangements will be handled by R.W. Baker & Co Funeral Home and Crematory, Downtown Suffolk Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a gift donation be made in honor of Sandra Dianne Holland Howe and Captain Frederic N. Howe, Jr to the American Rose Society (