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Mills Student Dies Suddenly

Mills College Weekly


Diane Crawford, a liberal arts major at Mills, died on March 4. She was 43.

Crawford suffered a massive heart attack and slipped into a coma for several days before she died. She is survived by her two daughters, Reba, 14, and Sophia, 6, and her husband of more than 20 years, Andrew Hayes.

Crawford was born in Fremont on July 23, 1961, and was the youngest of five siblings. She started working when she was 16 years old and at 19, moved to San Francisco, where she met Hayes. They married two years later on a yacht at Angel Island in a ceremony Hayes described as “very bohemian.”

“She had a great sense of humor and she could laugh at herself,” Hayes said of his wife. “She also touched so many people.”

Crawford was a massage therapist and had helped many people with her holistic work. Hayes said she helped a friend discover that he had the early stages of cancer and he was able to get medical attention and recover from his illness. She was deeply spiritual and would often help others out with crises in their lives.

Crawford was known for her thirst for life. She loved to swim and go skiing; she had just gone on a ski trip the week before her heart attack.

“She was very healthy,” Hayes said. “There’s no history of heart disease in the family. She never did any drugs or smoked.”

She also recently had a physical and there were no indications that something was wrong — making her death a shock to her family and the students who knew her at Mills.

“She was so passionate about school and her work,” said professor Carlota Caulfield, who teaches Women Writers of Spain and Latin America, one of Crawford’s classes this semester.

The students in the class said that she would be deeply missed. She was active in class discussions and seemed to love being at school.

Crawford sacrificed a lot to be at Mills. She sometimes questioned her own ability, but school helped her to get over those hurdles, Hayes said.

A memorial was held for Crawford in Berkeley at Clif Bar on Friday. Students and family shared sentiments about what a strong and independent woman she was.

“The celebration was just incredible,” Hayes said.

Hayes has received letters from students and professors that knew Crawford and was touched by the support he’s received from Mills.