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Diane Darst's Legacy Remembered

Diane Darst, a highly respected member of the Greenwich community who passed away last month, left her stamp on the memories of those she had worked alongside.

"She was co-chair of the board at Bruce Museum and she was one of the chairs of the marketing committee and I worked very closely with her," said Mike Horyczun, director of communications at the museum. "She was an inspiration, just a wonderful woman, and we'll be missing her very much. Most of all, we will miss her devotion and enthusiasm to the Bruce."

According to a published obituary, she passed away surrounded by her family on June 22 at the age of 62.

Darst graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Connecticut College and earned her Ph.D. in European Cultural and Intellectual History from Columbia University. In addition, Darst was a professional dancer with the Zurich Opera Ballet Company.

Darst founded and was director of Learning to Look, an art education program taught in schools throughout the metropolitan area. She wrote two books, "Western Civilization to 1648," a college textbook published in 1990, and "Learning to Look, A Complete Art History and Art Appreciation Program for Grades K-8," published in 2003.

Throughout the years, she served as a community leader for various organizations, including the boards of the Greenwich Library, the United Way of Greenwich, Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, and Greenwich Academy, in addition to the Bruce Museum.

"We miss her terribly. She was a founding board member of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy and had worked with us for nine years," said Margaret Cianci, executive director for the alliance. "We will miss her enthusiasm, insight and commitment."

According to her obituary, Darst is survived by her husband, David M. Darst; her daughter, Elizabeth M. Darst, and son-in-law, Charles S. Leykum; her son, David M. Darst Jr.; her brother, E. Robert Wassman, M.D.; her sister, Debra Wassman Lanman; and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.

Cianci said that Elizabeth recently gave birth to her first child, a baby girl named Diane after her mother.

Services were held on June 25 at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich. Donations still may be made in her memory to the Bruce Museum, the Greenwich Library or the United Way of Greenwich.

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