DIANA ZIMNOCH, SPENT HER LIFE HELPING CHILDREN

Date: 1999-06-05

Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Author: Herb Drill, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF

Diana Denise Borgia Zimnoch, 68, of Sellersville, who divided her early years between the United States and Venezuela, then spent much of her life helping children internationally, died Sunday of respiratory problems at Grand View Hospital in West Rockhill Township.

``She was an unassuming and humble woman who all her life had suffered from severe asthma and other health problems but saw her life as an opportunity to do God's work,'' said a son, Andrew Zimnoch.

``She had always welcomed troubled children into her home, and in 1973 became aware of conjoined twins in the Dominican Republic,'' her son said. ``Over several months, she arranged for them to come to Philadelphia, where they were separated at Children's Hospital in surgery performed by Dr. C. Everett Koop,'' who later became U.S. Surgeon General.

Using her experience and her knowledge of English and Spanish, Mrs. Zimnoch worked for the Latin American Parents Association over the next few years, helping at adoption proceedings. In the early 1980s she helped establish Adoptions International and in 1986 opened her own agency, Adoption Alliance.

She closed her agency and ran the Honduras adoptions program for Welcome House of Perkasie until retiring in 1996.

Mrs. Zimnoch was born in Los Angeles to parents who had left Venezuela to escape political oppression. Her father was a poet who became a writer for Hollywood movie studios, which gave her the opportunity to become an acquaintance of child movie star Shirley Temple.

As the family moved back and forth between this country and Venezuela, Mrs. Zimnoch attended St. John's University in New York; Universidad Central de Venezuela; and Fordham University..

She married Joseph J. Zimnoch in 1958, and the couple moved to Warrington in 1965 and to Sellersville in 1993.

In addition to her husband and her son Andrew, she is survived by children Matthew, Paul, Brigid Anderson, and Claire Szatmary; a sister; and six grandchildren.

Friends may call after 9 a.m. today at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, 445 N. Main St. in Sellersville, where a Funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Burial will be in St. John Neumann Cemetery, Stump and County Line Roads, Chalfont.

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