In Celebration of

Diane Pitfield

April 20, 1933 -  September 1, 2018

It is with great sadness we announce that Diane Pitfield died on Saturday, September 1, in her sleep at the Ottawa General Hospital. The family is devastated.
Diane Weldon was born in Montreal, April 20, 1933 to Gertrude (Whalley) and Joseph Anthony Weldon. An only child, she grew up in Montreal and graduated from McGill University. In 1954, she married Robert Hartland Pitfield from Saraguay, Montreal and settled down in Toronto where they raised their four wonderful children, Robert Hartland Pitfield, Laura Weldon Pitfield Worsley, Jaime Weldon Pitfield, and Rosemary Grace Pitfield.

In 1967, the family moved to Ottawa where they continued to thrive. In the mid 70s following their divorce, Mum rebooted her life, went back to university and graduated from The University of Ottawa, with a Master’s Degree in Psychology. She was a significant leader in the Ottawa Distress Center, and led the creation of Tel Aide, the French language equivalent. At this time, she met Peter McAvoy from Brockville, and they began their love story that continues to this day. From the house on Wilbrod Street, Mum and Pete managed the excitement of four kids, finishing school, getting married, developing careers, and having children of their own. Mum carved out a career as a professor at St Paul’s University and over the years became the Director of Practicum. She, along with Father Eugene King and Claudette Socqué and others grew a small department into a significant center of excellence and lay the groundwork for the strong program that exists today. It was in those early years that Chatham, Cape Cod became the summer focus for the family that has carried on to this day. Eleven magnificent grandchildren were born. The Toronto cousins, Elizabeth, Stephanie and twins, Hartland (Harty) and Alison Pitfield. The English cousins, Nicholas, Oliver (Ollie), Hugo and Charlotte Worsley. The Ottawa cousins, Laure Emilie (Lo), Weldon and Anthony Pitfield.
Mum adored her grandchildren and was proud of each and every one of them. She was a confidant; always gave good, strong advice and never judged. She made a special place for her two grandchildren, Jordan and Kirstin Kariappa. In the years, following their retirement, Mum and Pete made many, many trips and cruises to Europe and the Caribbean. They had golden retriever after golden retriever and walked miles and miles daily even to last week, talking about the life they so adored. They spent six months of the year in Ottawa and the rest in their house on the Cape or travelling abroad. Mum’s zest for life, the way she looked at everything optimistically, how she always saw the good in people and lived with passion for tomorrow will always be her signature characteristics. Mum was courageous and honest and could not be fooled.
Every relationship had its own fervor: poker nights with Ro and Rick and Eugene King, after Rosie’s delicious meals, family weekends spent at Rob’s island with Jim Weisgerber, visits to England to be with all those kids and spending quality time over dinners and chats with Jaime, Michele and their family.
Our Mum’s lifelong determination and weakening knees finally gave out. We are all so shocked and deeply saddened. Mum will be missed enormously, and Pete has lost his great companion and partner for reading out loud together while Mum worked on her beautiful needlework.

Friends and Family are invited to visit at Beechwood Cemetery and Funeral Services, 280 Beechwood Avenue, Ottawa, from 7 – 9pm on Thursday, September 6. A service celebrating Mum’s long and very happy life will be held at Beechwood on Friday, September 7th at 11am, with a reception to follow. Please join us.

If you would like to make a donation in her honour, please consider the Ottawa Humane Society.


(1 of 1)

Claudia Lefebvre 

Entered September 7, 2018 from Ottawa

I am the daughter of Margot Lefebvre, who co-founded Tel-Aide, the French arm of the Ottawa Distress Center, with your mother's indomitable support. She always spoke so highly of Diane (I think she called her 'Di' ...), her leadership and the incredible energy she injected in every hurdle to make the world a better, happier place. I am grateful that their paths crossed and that they made a real difference for many, many burdened souls.

Your Mum and mine are now reunited in God's grace. Their light will continue to shine brightly upon us.

In deep sympathy,


(5 of 142)