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Friends recall Diane Oatman as ‘lovely,’ ‘joyful’

Diane Oatman

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

LLANO — Those who knew the late Diane Oatman say she derived her strength and spirit from her passion for her family, friends and career.

“Diane was a remarkably beautiful person, inside and out. She was known in Llano for her beautiful smile and for her style,” said close family friend Phyllis Alexander, who owns and operates the Dabbs Hotel in Llano. “She had three great loves: her Christian faith, her family — especially her grandchildren — and friends.”

Oatman, 61, died unexpectedly in her home May 1. She was the wife of former 33rd/424th Judicial District Attorney Sam Oatman, who served Blanco, Burnet, Llano and San Saba counties for about three decades until 2013.

Diane Oatman was the president, owner and escrow officer at Oatman Land Titles Inc., 815 Berry St. The Oatman family business dates to 1884.

Emily Hudkins, an associate broker with Jesse James Real Estate in Llano, worked at the title company a decade ago and continued to work with Oatman on business deals, including a closing as recently as a week before her death.

“She was her normal, friendly joyful self — a lovely person. She was always very outgoing and nice to anyone who came to the office,” Hudkins said. “She was a beautiful lady, inside and out, very gracious. It’s going to be hard going over there and not seeing her.”

Through the years, Oatman balanced community involvement with family and career.

Her community endeavors included serving as president for the Llano Culture Club for several years and donating time and money to youth sports and extracurricular activities.

“She had many interests but always was a big supporter of the youth in this community, from being in charge of the Methodist Youth Program to local athletic programs to helping raise money for scholarships,” Alexander said.

Oatman was born in Ranger to Gene and Betty Menefee. She graduated from Monterey High School in Lubbock and received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in 1975. She and Sam Oatman married in 1979.

Loved ones say they will hold onto fond memories of Diane Oatman as an educated, loyal, professional and vibrant woman about town.

“She was a loyal friend,” Alexander said. “I personally always knew I could count on her.”

Hudkins added, “I’m just going to miss her a lot. She was very special.”

Oatman is survived by her husband, Sam Oatman; daughter, Jeannette Whitus and husband Brent; son, Theron Oatman and wife Ashley; granddaughters, Mikayla and Rylea Whitus; and grandson, Brennen Oatman. She is also survived by her mother, Betty Menefee; brother, Mark Menefee and wife Patti and their children Ryan Menefee and Kelley Menefee. She was preceded in death by her father, Gene Menefee.

A funeral service was May 3 under the direction of Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Home in Llano. Email whhfuneral1@verizon.net with condolences for the family.

connie@thepicayune.com