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KAUFMANN, Diane L., age 73

Died: Friday, April 12th, 2024

Both the service and visitation will be held at
Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eau Claire (3214 Golf Road)
additional parking is available at the funeral home
across Golf Road

Funeral Service: 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2024
For those unable to attend, the service will be streamed via https://www.youtube.com/@ImmanuelChurchEauClaire

Visitation: Friday, May 3 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and
from 9:30 a.m. until time of service on Saturday

A private interment will be held later

To honor Diane's life and service, please direct memorials to Immanuel Lutheran Church https://www.immanuelec.org/.
Memorials will be distributed among: Neighbor 2 Neighbor, the Lay School of Ministry, and the Malawi Pastor's Academy. 
If a floral/plant gift is sent, kindly do not include any cut flowers.


Diane L. Kaufmann, age 73, of Chippewa Falls, died peacefully at home, on Friday, April 12, 2024 surrounded by family and friends. 

Diane was born in Eau Claire, moved to Altoona at a young age and graduated from Altoona High School in 1969. She was a proud Altoona Railroader and stayed in touch with some of her high school girlfriends throughout her life. Diane married Greg Kaufmann in 1972, and graduated from Valparaiso University in 1973 as a Lutheran Deaconess. Diane served as a deaconess in St. Louis, MO, Granby, CO, and on the staff of the ELCA Northwest Synod of WI as the first Companion Synod Coordinator. She was a member of the 7th class of the Lay School of Ministry of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin. She also hosted 4 class members in her home and volunteered on its board for several decades. She spent many years working in both Brazil and Malawi, before retiring to care for her aging mother, Arlene Everson, and then help raise her granddaughter, Lauren.

After Greg graduated from Christ Seminary-Seminex, they purchased an ancient log hunting lodge perched above Hot Sulphur Springs, CO. While it had a fabulous view of the mountains, it lacked running water and plumbing! Despite having a one-year-old, Diane wasn't worried. She and Greg got right to work converting the outhouse into a chicken coop and rabbit hutch! She even convinced Greg to cut a hole in the roof of the old hunting lodge and install a greenhouse so she could garden year-round. And this was only the beginning for Diane.

In 1980, after serving Middle Park Lutheran Church (now known as Lord of the Valley Lutheran Church) in Granby, Colorado for 5 years, Diane and Greg moved back to WI and purchased the farm Greg still lives on.  

Diane's love of the creation and her desire to work in harmony with it, led her to adopt Joel Salatin's model for pastured poultry and to develop the sheep dairy industry in WI. Diane started attending meetings and getting involved with sustainable agriculture initiatives, a key interest that would define much of her later work. These experiences helped her form the basis of what would become a lifelong advocacy for sustainable farming practices.

Throughout the 1980s, Diane became increasingly involved in sustainable agriculture movements. She attended and organized numerous meetings and workshops aimed at promoting sustainable practices among local farmers. These gatherings often took place in community spaces like Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls, and Luther Park Bible Camp, Chetek, WI. She was instrumental in forming and leading various agricultural networks which facilitated the exchange of knowledge and resources among farmers. A significant part of Diane's advocacy focused on empowering women in agriculture. She organized meetings specifically designed for women farmers, providing them with information and support to thrive in a predominantly male-dominated industry.

In the 90s, Diane's farm becomes a focal point for educational outreach. She hosted numerous visits from schools and groups from around the world, educating them about sustainable farming. Her farm served as a model for pastured poultry and dairy sheep operations. One way Diane passed on what she had learned was by serving as an internship site for students working on a degree in small animal husbandry. Diane's advocacy efforts gained national and international recognition. She participated in international conferences, such as a farmstead cheese makers' conference in Greece and contributed significantly to the knowledge and practice of sustainable farming globally. Diane played a pivotal role in the formation of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA), an organization that connected pastured poultry farmers across the U.S. and promoted sustainable practices. Diane was honored with various awards and recognitions for her contributions to agriculture. These accolades were a testament to her influence and the respect she garnered within the agricultural and environmental communities.

By the year 2000, Diane began shifting her focus more towards community service and less on direct farming due to personal health challenges. Despite this shift, she continued her advocacy for sustainable agriculture by participating in various state and national councils and task forces. This included her role in Governor Tommy Thompson's Governor's Growing Agriculture Task Force in Wisconsin, where she represented sustainable and organic farmers. It also led to her work with an NGO, Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. Through this network, Diane's work extended internationally, particularly through her involvement with a women's group in Zimbabwe. Here, she engaged in facilitating farmer-to-farmer exchanges, supported by USAID, to promote sustainable agricultural practices and economic empowerment for women.

In 2004, Diane was commissioned as an Associate in Ministry (now known as Deacon) to serve as the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin's first Companion Synod Coordinator. Based on her years of work empowering others in sustainable agriculture, Diane was an early adopter of the Accompaniment Model and that has shaped how the ELCA Northwest Synod of WI relates to its companion church in Malawi to this day. Diane spent months out of every year from 2004 - 2011 in Malawi helping build this partnership in the Gospel.

Diane retired in 2011 to help her aging mother and to provide almost daily childcare support for her granddaughter, Lauren. But retirement might better be translated as "refirement." Diane soon was deeply involved as a board member in her beloved Deaconess community here in the United States, as well as the international Diaconia movement. Once again Diane was traveling the world, working together with women, to tackle social and justice issues. In 2018, in order to help young people better understand their siblings in Malawi, Diane, along with artist Janelle Thompson, published a book designed to do just that (A Malawi Welcome: Life in the Warm Heart of Africa).

Diane's desire to live out her baptism by serving others wasn't limited to the care of creation or her work on boards around the world! During the 19 years her husband Greg served with Senior Pastor Roger Skatrud at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls, Diane volunteered in multiple areas of ministry ranging from youth musicals to canoe trips in the BWCA. In 2000, Greg accepted a call to serve on the synod staff of the Northwest Synod of WI. After a short period of church shopping, Diane and Greg joined Immanuel Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, and Diane naturally immersed herself in the varied ministries of that congregation, including serving on its council.  

Deeply passionate about racial and social justice, Diane spent her remaining years championing these issues both in her professional and personal life. One small example is her role as a volunteer driver for women who needed transportation to get to and from their "English as a second language" classes. Her adult children, Martin and Kalista, have continued her work both on the farm and with issues of justice and privilege. Diane was more than thankful that they both have followed in her footsteps, managing to find ways to serve others in the varied career paths they have chosen.  

Throughout her career, Diane's leadership has been recognized by others. The following are shared to give a small glimpse into the varied ways she served God by serving others and the amazing creation:

Valedictorian of her High School class 1969; AAL (now known as Thrivent) full scholarship ride to 4 years of college 1969-1973; Speaker for The Stockman Grassfarmer Annual Conference 1993; An entire chapter dedicated to her work, in Allan Nation's 1993 book Grass Farmers; Provided resources to develop a pasture poultry Heifer Project 1993; Invited to speak at Wisconsin's Sustainable Agriculture Program workshops 1995; UW-Madison's Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems Citizens Advisory Council Chair 1994-1999; Founding board member of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association 1996; Board member of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association 1996-2001; One of 16 women chosen to represent the United States at the 2nd International; Conference on Women in Agriculture 1998; Workshop leader in Zimbabwe and Mozambique for Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs 1998-2001; Sheep Industry Award presented by the Great Lakes Wool Growers Cooperative 1999; Cover Girl with an entire chapter dedicated to her work starting the Wisconsin Women's Sustainable Agriculture Network in Neva Hassanein's 1999 book Changing the Way America Farms; Council member and treasurer of the River Country Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. 1998-2005; Appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson to be part of the "Growing Agriculture Task Force"; Executive Board member of the Wisconsin Farmland Conservancy, now known as West Wisconsin Land Trust; Represented the United States twice in France to study the Label Rouge system; 2004 Outstanding Performance by a council member of the Wisconsin Association of Conservation and Development; Commissioned as an Associate in Ministry (now known as Minister of Word and Service/deacon) in 2004; Keynote speaker at Luther Seminary's Mid-Winter Convocation 2006; Executive Committee member of DOTAC (Diakonia of the Americas and Caribbean) 2012-2014; Executive Committee member and website minister of DRAE (Diaconia Region Africa and Europe) 2014-2018; Lutheran Deaconess Board Member 2016-2019; Innumerable newspaper articles, both local and national, featuring Diane's work   

The folders on the desktop of her MacBook Pro laptop tell it all. They were: Native Americans, Antiracism Training, Racial Justice Action Group, Sacred Ground, Drivers and Riders for English as a Second Language, Malawi, God's Holy Darkness, Knitting, and Pyoderma Gangrenosum (her leg wound).

All this because Diane said "Yes", led by her faith, serving others. 

Diane is survived by her husband, Greg Kaufmann; children, Martin (Amy) Kaufmann and Kalista (Pete) Kaufmann-Willi; grandchildren, Lauren Willi, Grace Kaufmann and Wesley Kaufmann; siblings, Carole (Matt) Rybarczyk, Mark Everson, and Donna (Rick) Rutten; her nieces, nephews, other family members and many, many dear friends around the world. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Don and Arlene Everson; brother, Colin Everson; and sister-in-law, Cindy Parks. 

Diane's family extend their sincere thanks to the staff and members of both Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls and Immanuel Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, and the hopice staff of St. Joseph and Mayo Clinic. Also a special thank you to Christina Ho, Diane's personal caregiver, who enabled Diane to be at home for the last months of her life.

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