Diane Likas Ayoob
January 5, 1928 - September 21, 2020
Diane Likas Ayoob died peacefully on September 21, 2020 from congestive heart failure. She was 92, and a lifelong resident of the Bay Area.
With Thomas Ayoob, her husband of nearly 64 years, the San Francisco native raised two sons in Daly City and San Mateo: Keith, an Associate Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and Paul, a retired San Jose police officer and designer of custom furniture.
Art in many forms was prominent in Diane’s life. She was a talented artist, with particular fondness for charcoal and ink drawings, and seldom refused an opportunity to visit a museum, both in the Bay Area and when she traveled to New York and Europe.
She studied dance for many years with several artists, including Ruth St. Denis. Though her studies ended when she married, she wanted her sons to appreciate the performing arts as much as she did. When buying tickets for their first musical, she told the ticket agent, “I want your best seats so my boys will enjoy it and they’ll want to come back.”
Diane was an outstanding home cook who insisted on her family sitting down at the table together for dinner and breakfast. Her repertoire encompassed many cuisines but since she’d make only one meal at a time, her sons learned to enjoy new dishes. She was a docent at the San Francisco Zoo for many years and set out to learn sign language so she could give tours to hearing impaired children and adults. She loved doing those tours and would say about her hearing-impaired groups, “they can’t hear the animals but they should know their stories.”
Diane was also active in causes that spoke to her, so much so that she was known as “the petition lady” on her Daly City neighborhood, for her efforts to get measures on ballots. An ardent advocate for women’s reproductive rights, she volunteered for Planned Parenthood long before Roe V. Wade.
She frequently wrote to all her congresspersons and whichever president caused her to want to speak her mind: lower taxes, better schools, a woman’s right to choose. Later in life, domestic violence also became a cause, and for her, this was personal.
Diane became an advocate for gay rights, after her son Keith came out to the family. Diane read 27 books on all perspectives of being gay and having a gay family member. She drew on experience in her young life when she attended classes from Bayard Rustin, gay black pacifist, who took an interest in her and encouraged her to express herself about causes that moved her. She was thrilled when she learned he masterminded the 1963 civil rights march on Washington. During the earliest stages of the HIV crisis, she had no difficulty hugging persons with HIV “because someone should do that,” and had no patience for then-friends who did not approve of her “touching those people.”
Even through the most difficult times, Diane never lost her sense of humor. Her philosophy was “ya gotta be able to laugh or the tough stuff will bury you,” and she wasn’t above telling a dirty joke or judiciously using choice words to get a point across. Her humor, love of laughter, and effervescent personality will be remembered my many who loved her. She will be much missed by all who loved her, including Keith’s partner of 29 years, Rod Deane; Roy and Tess Fairchild, and Sue and Don Larson and their daughters, Casey and Kelly, who grew to love her as their “Grandma D”. May her spirit and good works live on.