The Armory
128 NW Eleventh Ave, Portland, OR 97209 · 503-445-3700 · www.pcs.org
The Armory

In Loving Memory of Diana Gerding

February 17, 2021

Friends, board members, and staff pay tribute to Diana Gerding for the 2021 PCS gala, which was dedicated to her memory.

Diana Gerding is one of the most influential people in the history of Portland Center Stage. Along with her husband Bob, Diana has been an enormous champion for this theater — not only through financial support, but also through her sage wisdom and her love for the staff.

As a fierce advocate for PCS, Diana was particularly passionate about the progress we’ve made toward social justice and equity. She was also deeply committed to PCS’s education programs, and to JAW and our development of new works for the stage. 

It is impossible to fully convey the enormous contributions Diana has made to PCS, but we wanted to share just a few of the fond memories we’ve received from staff members. We hope you will join us in celebrating this extraordinary woman, and our great fortune for having known and loved her.

Diana Gerding with members of the production team at the opening night for The Color Purple

Diana Gerding (second from left) with members of the production team (L-R) Larissa Cranmer, Kara Harmon, Janine Vanderhoff, and Eva Steingrueber-Fagan at the opening night for The Color Purple. Photo by Kate Szrom

“Diana and I first met through our work with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at PCS.  After she and I partnered together for a committee project, we quickly became friends and began spending time outside of that work. I will forever be grateful for the time I got to spend with her. It's hard to express all that she was. Kind, gentle, strong, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, graceful, stylish … and so much more. Like anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her, I am so sorry our time was cut short. There are so many conversations left unfinished. I will think of her often, and always with fondness.” –Larissa Cranmer, Costume Cutter/Draper
“Diana really epitomized being a good citizen, a good friend, and a good person. She was lovely, and warm, and always so appreciative of everyone who worked with PCS.” –Marlene Montooth, Grants Manager
Board Member Sarah J. Crooks and former staff member Jennifer Goldsmith celebrating with Diana Gerding at a donor reception

(L-R): Board Member Sarah J. Crooks and former staff member Jennifer Goldsmith celebrating with Diana Gerding at a donor reception.

“Ever an inspiration and a true friend.” –Jennifer Goldsmith, Former Associate Director of Development
“Diana was such a huge advocate for supporting new works. Each year, she generously hosted a reception and social for JAW playwrights and board members in her home to support JAW. It was always so meaningful to everyone in attendance.” –Kelsey Tyler, Education & Community Programs Director
“Diana was always a joy to have in the building, but my favorite memories are of running into her in the neighborhood. She lived near The Armory, so I'd see her on the sidewalk not infrequently, and she always met me with a huge smile and quick visit to ask how things were going at PCS. Her love of the people of PCS was so obvious and so appreciated. I will really miss those moments with her.” –Caitlin Upshaw, Director of HR, Equity & Inclusion
Diana Gerding and Marissa Wolf with Cheryl Strayed and members of the cast and design team for Tiny Beautiful Things

Diana Gerding (top right) and Marissa Wolf (top left) with Cheryl Strayed (top center) and members of the cast and design team for Tiny Beautiful Things. Photo by Kate Szrom

“I loved seeing Diana's radiant face after an opening night performance! In my two short years on staff at PCS, I counted her a thought partner and a wellspring of knowledge that informed my understanding of this fantastic company.” –Marissa Wolf, Artistic Director
“I met Diana Gerding in 2005 when I joined the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art as director of development, where Diana was a founding board member. Diana's genuine kindness and thoughtfulness made an immediate impression on me. We formed a friendship and stayed in touch when I moved from PICA to the Museum and beyond. We would meet for the occasional lunch or gallery opening over the years — at our lunches we reminisced about the old days, laughed about the absurdity of life, caught up on our families and friends, and enjoyed one another's company. When the director of development position came up at PCS in the summer of 2019, we met over lunch for a couple of hours at Gallo Nero. Her love for PCS was infectious, and I applied for the job shortly after our lunch. I am so grateful that fate brought us back together at PCS, and that I had the chance to spend quality in-person time with her before Covid shut everything down. Maya Angelou said that ‘people will never forget how you made them feel’ and Diana always made you feel loved. I will miss you Diana. Thank you for friendship and mentorship.” –Luisa Adrianzen Guyer, Director of Development
Diana and Bob Gerding at the 2006 gala

Diana and Bob Gerding at the 2006 gala, which marked the opening of the Gerding Theater at The Armory — the new home for Portland Center Stage —  which never would have been possible without their fierce dedication and support. Photo by Josh Oakhurst.

We love you Diana! We will be forever grateful for the many ways you lifted us up and made PCS thrive. Your spirit will soar with us as we carry your legacy in our hearts.

If you’d like to share a tribute, please email it to Associate Director of Marketing & Communications.

Portland Center Stage at The Armory is committed to identifying & interrupting instances of racism & all forms of oppression, through the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, & accessibility (IDEA).

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