LIMINGTON – Family and friends of Dianna Wilcox expressed overwhelming grief and sadness on Thursday as they struggled to accept how a woman who had such a profound impact on so many people could have her life cut so short.

“In the two days before she died, she must have had 200 people stop by to visit her,” said her husband, Allie Wilcox Sr. of Limington. “It broke my heart, but it made me see just how many true friends (she had) because of the type of woman she’s been all of her life. My wife was one of the most kind-hearted people anyone could ever meet.”

Mrs. Wilcox died late Wednesday after a long and valiant battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was 57.

She was remembered by her family on Thursday as a strong, stoic and compassionate woman who had a positive outlook on life and brought out the best in others.

Many people would likely know her from Gorham Savings Bank in Windham, where she was a teller for nine years.

She joined the bank in 1995 as a teller at its Standish branch; she transferred to Windham in 2000. Dan Hancock, a regional bank officer for Gorham Savings, said Thursday afternoon that she was “amazing at her job” and was well-liked by her colleagues and the customers.

“It’s been almost four years that she has worked here full time and not a week goes by that a customer doesn’t ask about her,” Hancock said. “They all have a story about something she did for them or how much they enjoyed seeing her. She was the most upbeat, positive and funny person I have ever been around.”

Mrs. Wilcox, a former longtime resident of Buxton, was married to her husband for 39 years.

They met 51 years ago in kindergarten in Portland, then attended the former Butler School together. Allie Wilcox said they have pictures together dating back to the fourth grade.

The couple raised two sons, Allie Wilcox Jr. of Limington and Eric Wilcox of Buxton.

Her husband was overcome with emotion Thursday talking about the day she told him she was pregnant. It was his birthday. They were juniors at Portland High School. He reacted angrily to the news.

“I called her back crying,” he said. “I ran about (two) miles from Munjoy Hill to School Street and told her that I was so sorry and that I loved her. I promised her I would stay with her for the rest of my life.”

They got married in their junior year, and graduated in 1973 with their then-6-month-old son, Allie, by their side.

“My life has been perfect,” her husband said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better wife. She supported me with love and trust, and I gave her the dignity and love and trust that she deserved, too. The only thing I can hope and pray for is that she is waiting for me with open arms when it’s my time to go.”

In November 2005, Mrs. Wilcox was diagnosed with large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after her doctors removed a lump from her left breast. She fought her cancer with aggressive rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Over the past six years, her cancer has gone into remission and returned with a vengeance many times. She tried various other forms of treatment, surgeries and experimental drugs, but some of those treatments wreaked havoc on her body and nearly killed her. Her husband said they made 41 trips to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., in 2009. He said the doctors there had little hope she would recover.

Mrs. Wilcox spent several months at the Springbrook Center for Health Care & Rehabilitation in Westbrook.

“I have to thank people at Springbrook,” her husband said. “They rehabilitated her twice. I love them so much.”

Mrs. Wilcox was admitted to Maine Medical Center a few weeks ago when her health declined. Her husband was by her side at the time of her death.

“When she went, I felt 1,000 pounds of weight come off of my shoulders and heart, as well as hers,” he said. “My wife is my life. I’m going to have a hole in my heart till the day I die.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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