Amateur sport lost one of its biggest fans and supporters Wednesday evening when Diana Stevens, executive director of Athletics Manitoba, was killed in a car accident near Killarney.
The 51-year-old was on her way to Bottineau, N.D., for her daughter Janelle's wedding this weekend when her SUV was involved in a head-on crash with a semi-trailer on Highway 10 just north of the U.S. border.
"She was amazing," said Jennifer Campbell, who worked alongside Stevens for nearly a decade as the president of Athletics Manitoba.
"Her passion was her family and her passion was athletics and she made a great balance between the two."
The rest of Stevens' family was supposed to follow Friday after work. The wedding has been put on hold.
"She was so excited about the wedding. We worked at a track meet this past weekend at the University of Manitoba and it was freezing cold. She was out there working away," Campbell said.
Ted Bigelow, a director at Sport Manitoba, said Stevens' other daughter, Michelle, is a team manager for Manitoba's track and field team at the upcoming 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
"She was the glue that kept the athletics community together. She could do it in a way that was pretty special. Going into her office was like walking into her living room. You were very welcome. Her ability to work with people was fantastic. She was very organized and very much appreciated," he said.
Campbell said Athletics Manitoba is preparing to have an emergency board meeting to deal with the loss.
"She was an amazing lady," she said.
Stevens was scheduled to pick up Perdita Felicien, former world champion in the 100-metre hurdles, and take her to the Hershey's Track and Field Games Day meet next weekend in Carman.