Her family moved around a lot within the Fairbanks area, which gave Diane new experiences in making friends in & around Fairbanks.
She attended, in order from 1st grade on, Main, Nordale, Two Rivers, & Denali, Nordale, then Denali again in 6th grade, Main Jr. High, and finally Lathrop High.
She had many more new experiences in the years to follow.
She had a difficult time adjusting to those new experiences, but gradually found within her the power to change, and eventually developed her entrepreneurial skills, which you need when starting your own business.
She married Steven Perkins, an Airman from Eielson AFB, in May of 1968, and moved to Maine with him when he transferred that month.
She graduated from Limestone High School, in Limestone, Maine in a class of 72 graduates. Quite a difference from the hundreds of friends she knew in Lathrop.
In April of 1971, she and Steve welcomed their son Nathan’s birth.
In the spring of 1969, Diane and Steve also had been looking forward to the birth of their first child, but little Steven was born with undeveloped lungs at the end of a very long and hard pregnancy for Diane.
They were very happy when Nathan, after a scary first week, survived, and was the object of much family attention, being the first grandson on the Perkins side of the family.
In 1974, Diane and Steve divorced. Diane returned to live in Fairbanks and was probably one of the last persons to get decent housing before the pipeline boom that fall.
Nathan is now 38 and has three daughters. Nate and his wife divorced about seven years ago.
Diane goes to see her granddaughters during summers and alternating Christmases at Nate’s home in Merced, California, and also occasionally visit’s the girls at their Mom’s home in Washington state.
After a brief marriage to class of ‘69’s Allen Pollard, Diane married Jim Neill and they had a baby girl. Thus her reason for using Neill as her middle name.
Their baby girl was born in 1980, again with some scary moments during the last of Diane’s pregnancy and during the first week of their daughter’s life.
Their daughter now lives in Anchorage with her two cats. Diane and Jim divorced in 1985.
Diane got property 10 miles north of Nenana, and after Steph moved to Anchorage for her last year of high school, and Diane’s mom, Vivian Greenway, passed away in 1997, Diane made the move to Nenana permanent.
She started her version of the best home business, Nenana Messenger, founded the newspaper, Nenana Messenger News, and did whatever it took to survive in a small town with little employment opportunity, just people with lots of small business ideas.
She used her office skills to do typesetting, got a copy machine to do print jobs, and published the newspaper as regular as she could.
Diane met the love of her life, Gene Jensen, while he was the Nenana Police Department, yes, he was “the department”.
He didn’t really like being called the “Chief”, but being the only policeman, he was. He is now officially the Chief of the Nenana Volunteer Fire/EMS Department, and also works in the Nenana Public Utilities Department.
Diane became Diane Neill Jensen when she and Gene married New Year’s Eve 2001, standing outside on the porch of their log cabin on the main street of Nenana. The temperature dropped to twenty below zero just moments after the ceremony.
Diane sold the newspaper in 2007 after a car accident took the energy out of her for a while.
Diane is now writing her autobiography, and recovering from setbacks in her health. Gene is now retired.
They still have their home in Nenana, and are in process of restoring the cabin that was build in the 1930’s.
They rent a little place in Hawaii, so they can spend summers in beautiful Interior Alaska, and winter in Hawaii.