Dianna Kilby Emory of Mount Desert Island and Brooklin, Maine, transitioned peacefully to the next chapter of her journey on January 24, 2021, after, in true form, writing most of this obituary herself. She was born in Portland, Maine, October 17, 1949, the daughter of Norman and Ruth Warner Kilby. Her life on earth was rich with experiences that enabled her to better understand the plights of others and led her toward the helping professions. In infancy Dianna survived a dire diagnosis of adrenal cancer, and the ensuing years of post traumatic stress disorder related to extreme surgery and numerous other medical crises were catalysts that shaped her life.
When her father’s early cancer death kept her close to home for college, she completed college in three years before acquiring two masters degrees in the mental health field and a doctorate from the University of Maine. While pursuing her doctorate, she attained advanced certifications in alternative approaches to healing through the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and various universities. Early in her career, she developed clinical counseling programs at several elementary and junior high schools and a home-school counseling program at Indian Island. She founded the Behavioral Medicine and Training Institute, operated a private practice as a clinical counselor, was on the adjunct faculty of College of the Atlantic, and served on the allied health professional staff of Mount Desert Island Hospital, where she developed a counseling program for troubled children. She taught physicians and mental health providers alternative/complementary approaches to healing, and pro bono she worked with cancer patients for 35 years.
An avid outdoor athlete and gardener and passionate about the Earth and its creatures, Dianna sought to give back to the natural environment she cherished, serving on boards and committees for organizations including Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, the Forest Society of Maine, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, the Garden Club of Mount Desert, the Brooklin Garden Club, and Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. For several busy years she chaired the board of Friends of Acadia. In 2018 she celebrated her dedication to both mental wellness and the natural world by having published her book Bonding with Nature: Responding to Life’s Challenges and the Aging Process. Unpublished but available is her recent self-directed course Transforming Crisis: Nature, Nurture, Remember, Relax.
Dianna was blessed with a host of precious family members and many dear friends. She is survived by her husband, love, and co-adventurer of 36 years, Ben Emory; her beloved daughters and stepchildren and their partners Melissa Savage (Deborah Shields), Bethany Savage Crane (Kevin Crane), Kristin Emory (Jamie Schapiro), Thor Emory, and Chafee Emory; five grandsons, Wyeth, Zander, and Porter Schapiro and Finn and Carver Emory; her sister Lois Kilby-Chesley; and in-laws Lucy Ambach and Appy and John Stookey.
A celebration of Dianna’s life will be planned for when gathering is safe. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made either to Massachusetts General Hospital for credit to the Golden Light Fund for Thoracic Cancers (founded by Dianna) and sent to Mr. Keith Erickson, Director of Development, Massachusetts General Hospital, 125 Nashua Street, Suite 540, Boston, MA 02114-1101; or to Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, PO Box 18177, Portland, ME 04112.
Arrangements in care of Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main Street, Mt. Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com