Diana Gonsalves

Celebration of Life

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sunday, September 17, 2023
Reader Rock Garden
325 25 Ave SE
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
RSVP: artbiz@dianapaul.com

Obituary of Diana Josephine Gonsalves

December 5, 1931 - July 20, 2023

It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of Diana Josephine Gonsalves (nee Paulhus). Always fiercely independent she passed away suddenly on Thursday, July 20, 2023, still living in her own home, having lived a very full 91 ½ years of a wonderful life as a gallerist, art dealer, nurse, mother, and grandmother. 

Diana was born December 5, 1931, and raised on a homestead farm in Southern Saskatchewan, in the Souris Valley District near Radville. She was the youngest girl of a family of eleven children with three older brothers (Raymond, Armand, and Étienne), four older sisters (Estelle, Juliette, Cecile, and Maria) and three younger brothers (Gerald, Marcel and Edmond). 

Diana’s first career was in nursing, trained at the Holy Cross School of Nursing in Calgary. Always elegantly fashionable, Diana, for her nursing school graduation in 1953 wore a chic, white, full skirted strapless gown her eldest sister, Estelle, lovingly sewed for her, by hand. Diana’s nursing career started at the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital. Her desire to venture out to see the world led her to California where she was a sought-after pediatric nurse in San Fransisco and Santa Barbara. Her hair a flaming fashionable red, she looked fabulous in British Racing Green sports cars, holidayed in Acapulco and was, on more than one occasion, mistaken for fashion super model Suzy Parker. After five years in California, Diana returned to Alberta, marrying the artist Manuel Gonsalves and starting a family; her two daughters Tobi and Nina. With Mannie, Diana established one of Calgary’s first fine art Galleries. Diana’s independent entrepreneurial spirit, keen eye for style and design and love of art prompted her to found her own art gallery in the 1980’s. Diana Paul Galleries was a highly respected fine art gallery in the heart of downtown Calgary’s financial district. 

In addition to Diana’s love for art, fashion, and string quartets she was also an avid hiker, skier, backpacker, and traveler. With friends and members of the Rocky Mountain Ramblers, she enthusiastically scaled peaks and dashed down slopes. Her love of the mountains also manifested itself in her art gallery, featuring painting by multiple artists depicting the majestic mountain landscapes she loved to frequent. She combined her passion for the mountains and art with generous support for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, often attending the Midsummer Ball fundraiser where she could indulge her love of ballgowns. Diana’s affinity for all things fine and her adventurous spirit brought her to the handsome love of her life Dr. Brian Norford, who has been her loving life and travel partner for 42 years. Together, Diana and Brian embarked on numerous adventures; road trips through the Quebec countryside seeking new artistic talents and geological fieldtrips, camping at Diana Lake and the Australian Outback, where Diana found the spiders to be much too large. They traveled extensively, often incorporating hiking into the trips; New England in the Fall, the Italian Cinque Terre, the Scottish Highlands and pastoral England, Brian’s country of birth. Of their numerous trips to Europe through Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and France, Paris was Diana’s favorite. 

Though Diana loved the thrill of foreign places Calgary was always her home where her family flourished. Diana’s two granddaughters brought her great joy. She adored attending their performances; violin, classical guitar, and ballet - showering them with flowers after every performance. She instigated bike rides with picnics, kite flying, snow fort building, nature walks, skating parties, and cross-country ski trips with baby sled in tow. 

Diana was pre-deceased by her daughter Tobi Hetherington, whom she desperately missed; her ex-husband Mannie Gonsalves whom she didn’t miss much; her parents Donat and Celeste Paulhus and by nine of her brothers and sisters, all but her younger brother Gerald (Geraldine) Paulhus. She is also survived and grieved by her partner Brian Norford, her daughter Nina Rogers (Keith), her beloved, cherished granddaughters Tedra and Miranda, sisters-in-law Rosalie (Raymond), Lyn (Marcel), and Margret (Edmond) as well as many treasured nieces and nephews. 

To commemorate Diana’s elegant and beautiful presence on this earth a bench in her memory is being dedicated in Banff; appropriately, along the Art in Nature walk, beside the Bow River, with a view of Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain, whose switchbacks she hiked many times. 

Family and friends are welcomed to a Celebration of Diana’s Life the afternoon of Sunday, September 17, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Reader Rock Garden (RSVP: artbiz@dianapaul.com). A bench dedication will be held in the Spring of 2024 at the gazebo in Banff’s Central Park. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed here.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area, where Diana and Brian frequently rambled, or the Banff Center for Art and Creativity.

In living memory of Diana Gonsalves, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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