Dian Post, friend to many Eastonites and beloved by her husband Bob, died at Talbot Hospice on Wednesday, November 20. Dian was born in Los Angeles on March 7, 1932, and was brought up in the city’s Eagle Rock district by her father, Herbert Paul Ristow, a police officer. She attended Eagle Rock High and then went on to John Muir College in Pasadena and to the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in anthropology and American literature. She also worked with Norris Hundley, the editor of the Pacific Historical Review, which had offices in UCLA’s Ralph Bunche Hall. Her first marriage ended in divorce, but she did become friends with the distinguished film director William Dieterle, who was her uncle and whose Life of Emile Zola won the Academy Award for best picture,
Dian was introduced to Bob Post in 1961 when he was beginning in graduate school, and as he finished his PhD in history they lived in Hermosa Beach, California. For recreation they hiked and camped in the Sierras, and became fans of the sport of drag racing—an early enthusiasm of Bob’s--about which they would later write a book. In 1971 the two of them came to Washington, D.C., when Bob was awarded a research fellowship at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology (now the Museum of American History) and she was building a reputation as an editor and graphic designer. As Bob was starting a Smithsonian career, Dian was establishing her firm called Post Scripts, and would be engaged in the editing, design, and production of historical material for more than 40 years. She began with a scholarly journal that Bob edited, Railroad History, then came IA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology and The Island Journal, and soon she moved into book packaging as well, with clients ranging from the Smithsonian to the Chicago Historical Society to the Maine Maritime Museum. Post Scripts was always a badge of quality.
In 1981, with Bob on assignment as the Smithsonian’s curator at large and editor-in-chief of Technology and Culture, Dian took Post Scripts to East Boothbay, Maine, for seven years. During this time she and Bob restored a needy Victorian house and she also coached aerobics at the Boothbay Region YMCA--drawing on her experience as a young personal trainer in Las Vegas—and she garnered an award she treasured, as “Ambassador for Health and Physical Fitness.” Then in 1987 Dian and Bob moved again, this time to the Eastern Shore, first to Federalsburg. And in 2001, one last move, to South Aurora Street in Easton. In semi-retirement as an editorial consultant and sometime ghostwriter, Dian began ten years as a volunteer on the circulation desk at the Talbot County Free Library. During this decade her honors multiplied, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, a citation for her work with Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic, and another for her time as a docent at the Boston Science Museum while Bob was at an MIT think tank. In 2018, Dian published her Maine Memoir, richly acclaimed, and this year she had been at work on a sequel Eastern Shore Memoir.
Dian was preceded in death by her brother Herb Ristow and stepsister Donna Furon, and is survived by her sister-in-law Donna Ristow, her nephew Paul, and her husband of 48 years, Bob. She asked that there be no services, not at present, but suggested donations to Easton’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. She had special affection for her Canadian cousins and her Tai Chi gals, for Linda, Shelby, Joan, and Sandy, for Michelle’s Becoming, and for her bassets. There were seven all told, beginning in California with Clancy, trained by Dian to a CD from the American Kennel Club, and leading up to Josie, star of the 2020 BROOD (Basset Rescue of Old Dominion) calendar. Ever the editor, not long ago Dian took out her blue pencil and underlined words of Steve Roberts in a remembrance of his wife Cokie titled “What a beautiful life”: “Who you’ll marry is the most important decision you’ll ever make. Nothing else even comes close.”