Dianne Connell Upham

Obituary of Dianne Christine Connell Upham


Our loving Dianne, age 64, of Burnsville, MN passed away on May 15th, 2024, at Fairview Southdale hospital, with her sister Janie and her husband Michael holding her hands. She bravely fought the good fight, but after two months she was overcome from the effects of septic shock. She will be immensely missed by many.


Dianne was born to Tom and Jan Connell on June 17th, 1959, in Menomonie, WI. She was raised on the family orchard (Connell’s Sunridge Orchards) that was started by her grandfather in 1939. She graduated from Elmwood High in 1977 and after receiving her LPN license, went on to a successful career in the health care industry, starting at Abbott Northwest Hospital as a Home Health Care Aide.

Her career path led her to very fulfilling positions as a Senior Benefits and Claims Advocate at Health Risk Management, CBCA, and United Health Care-Optum Division, from which she retired in 2019.

On lucky Friday, July 13th, 1990, Dianne and Michael met at the American Legion Friday night fish fry. Thirty-four years later, Lady Di and Mike remain forever bonded as one.

Dianne enjoyed being with family, cooking and baking, dining out with friends and family, happy hours, feeding the squirrels, state and county fairs, and llamas with hats. Apple fritters, cheese curds, 1919 Root Beer, Ruby Red Squirt, drive-ins, and a good corn dog and strawberry lemonade. Boating on the St. Croix and Mississippi River. Going to the movies and watching TV, especially cooking and food shows, also British comedy, the Olympics, and a good murder mystery. Trips to Naples to see Mom and Dad. (She always said to book our seats in the “pointy end of the plane”) Taking local road trips to all the unique places in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, often getting side-tracked for hours along the way, and frequently breaking into song as we rolled down the back roads, singing her favorite songs, which included America the Beautiful, God Bless America, and any song by Air Supply. Apple Season was the highlight of the year, whether working on the family orchard, or in later years, visiting all the other orchards in the area to stock up on fresh apples for making delicious homemade pies, crisps, and apple dumplings. Maple Leaf Orchard (Mark & Sue) in Spring Valley WI. was her favorite.

Joy came easy to Dianne, and to know her was to love her. She kept life simple. Please think of her fondly when the lilacs come out every May. And think of her again when you pick an apple in the fall. She would like that.

In our hearts we know Dianne would like to thank the many people who helped her along the way during her work career. Special thanks to Nancy Bendtsen, Pat Ahner, Thad Copa, Julie Utech, Yvonne Richardson and many, many others. We would also want to recognize the wonderful caring and compassionate nursing staff who took care of Dianne at Fairview Southdale ICU- Jeanie, Adan, Evie and Julie, Skyler, Ariah, Sherry, Molly, Ann, Mel, Darlene, and Ashley.

Also Dr. Derek Tessman and Chaplain Paul Quinlivan for the extraordinary calming comfort they offered us during this heartbreaking time.


Dianne was preceded in death by her father, Tom Connell.

She is survived by her mother, Jan Connell, husband, Michael Upham, sister Janie Korin, brothers Mark and Steve (Char) Connell, nieces Natalie and Rebekah, nephews Ryan and Roger, and many other extended family members and friends.

A private family memorial service will be held at the Cremation Society of Minnesota-Edina in June.


If you would like to leave condolences or favorite memories, please leave them on this website on the tribute wall or under her obituary on the Star Tribune's website: www.startribune.com/obituaries

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the family, c/o Cremation Society of Minnesota 7110 France Ave S. Edina MN 55435.

Or, if you prefer, please consider donating to her favorite causes in her name (In Memory of Dianne C. Connell Upham):

  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
  • The National Butterfly Center- Mission, TX (nationalbutterflycenter.org)
Share Your Memory of