Ms. Diana Pallen

Professor Emerita, Lakehead University

Diana has been an almost lifelong citizen of Thunder Bay. She was born in Vancouver, B.C. and came here as an infant when her parents came here “temporarily” to care for her maternal grandmother. The Bay Algoma neighborhood has been her home base for all of her life and the Finnish Community has been a big part of that. Her heritage is
Finnish Swedish with her mother’s family having emigrated from northern Finland in 1928 settling in then Port Arthur. Her father’s family emigrated from southern Finland first to Toronto and then to the Sudbury area finally settling in Whitefish Ontario. That connection to Finnish heritage and Finland has remained a consistent element in her life.

She is a retired nurse who worked in the clinical area (in Thunder Bay and Manchester, England). She has had a long time appreciation for the history and heritage of this community and area, as well as history generally. Believing that is important to not only enhance one’s professional knowledge for practice, but also to nurture the side that
appreciates the arts by completing her post RN. degree in nursing followed by an Honours English Degree. She joined the School of Nursing as a lecturer and then a tenured faculty member (after completing her Master of Nursing degree from the University of Manitoba), retiring as Professor Emerita in 2015. She also believes that it is important to give hack to the community and as such is involved with a number of different groups and organizations in town. She has been a long time member of the Ladies of Kaleva (a local Finnish group dedicated to preserving and promoting Finnish language and culture, which offers bursaries to students pursuing post secondary education) .
She also is involved with The Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, the Northwestern Ontario Pastoral Institute, Lappe Lutheran Church where she has served as the church’s representative to the Lutheran Community Care Centre Board, participated in the choir and until December of 2019 was the church Council secretary. Additionally she serves as a board member for the Suomi Foundation. She joined the Thunder Historical Museum Society Board in circa 2009 where she sits on the Fund Raising Committee, Membership Committee, the Collections Committee, the Museum Development Committee, and the Nominations Committee.  She is the Board’s representative to the City’s Heritage Advisory Committee and H.A.C.’s representative to the City’s Clean, Green and Beautiful Committee.  She was a long time board member and supporter of Consortium Aurora Borealis.

She has been an avid traveler much of her life having visited Finland 19 times, England numerous times, and many parts of Europe and Canada.  Northwestern Ontario has always been the place to call home, with Finland a close second naturally.