Diane Sims Page, a longtime Twin Cities philanthropist and wife of Minnesota Vikings legend and retired state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, has died.
Diane Page, 74, died Saturday, the couple’s Page Education Foundation and family said Tuesday. She had breast cancer.
The Pages, who live in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis, have been active for decades in several causes in Minnesota, among them the Page Education Foundation, which has distributed more than 6,000 college scholarships to Minnesota students of color since 1988 under her leadership as executive director.
Just this year, they put on display a selection of their vast collection of African-American artifacts — amassed over three decades — at the Minneapolis Central Library downtown. The exhibit titled “Testify: Americana From Slavery to Today” revealed the dark, difficult and ultimately hopeful history of African-Americans.
Describing her relationship with her husband for an article posted last year on the Minnesota Vikings website last year, Diane Page said, “I’m more the ‘doer’ in our relationship. I always have to have a new project to be working on. We complement each other in a way. I help to execute a lot of Alan’s wishes and dreams.”
An obituary released Tuesday by her immediate family said among Diane Page’s “greatest gifts was her huge heart and ability to make everyone around her better than what they might otherwise have been. She was both visionary and grounded in common sense, with a zest for life that was only matched by her keen wit.”
The Pages met while he was visiting the General Mills headquarters in the Twin Cities. They eloped and wed in 1973, well into his pro football career.
“It was pretty funny when I met Alan,” Diane Page recalled in an article posted last year on the Minnesota Vikings website. “I was more of a fan than he was. For him, it was a career.”
Alan Page played most of his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, retiring in 1981 as a Chicago Bear, and entered the Hall of Fame in 1988. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1992 and left in 2015 upon hitting the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Diane Page attended the University of Minnesota, where she was on the Student Union Board of Governors and dedicated herself to volunteerism and public service.
She began a career in marketing at Twin Cities-based Pillsbury and later formed her own companies, gaining a national reputation among her Fortune 500 clients.
Along with Alan Page, Diane Page’s survivors include children Nina Page, Georgi Page-Smith, Justin Page and Kamie Page.
There will be no public service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in Diane Page’s honor to the Page Education Foundation.