Quincy Valley loses its Sunshine: Column
By Dave Burgess, QVPR editor
We at The Quincy Valley Post-Register are deeply saddened by the passing of Sunshine Didra, our friend and colleague. Sunshine died Tuesday night in Seattle, where she went for treatment for leukemia.
Sunshine was a pillar of this community, and she will be missed by so very many people. She and her husband, Rick, are longtime local residents.
That’s what Jessica, Janet, Sebastian, and myself here at the Post-Register were asked countless times during the past few months, when Sunshine was out undergoing treatment.
Everyone wanted to know, because everyone loved Sunshine and missed her.
People, many who have known her for many years, would stop in the office and ask for an update on Sunshine, where she was in the stages of her treatment. These were moments we could share our positive outlook and expectations of her recovery.
It seemed like everywhere I went in Quincy Valley since summer, when it became known that Sunshine was up against a difficult challenge, people would ask how she was doing. It didn’t matter if it was at a City Council meeting – anywhere, people asked about her.
Not that she was silent while away getting treatment. No, in between treatments she would get on the phone and talk with customers, even though rest might be more in line with circumstances.
People left cards and notes for Sunshine at the Post-Register, and those were delivered. There were several ways to donate during the past few months, as people in the community rallied to show their support. A bone marrow donor registration drive was also held in support of Sunshine.
For everything, Sunshine expressed her gratitude abundantly. She happened to be at home when the bone marrow registration drive was held at the Farmers Market, and she brought happiness to a lot of people there by making a surprise visit, even though it must have tired her out.
Sunshine’s family was with her in Seattle. She had received a bone marrow transplant and was in Seattle’s University of Washington Medical Center. In the past several days, doctors took her back into intensive care.
Joyce Edie, one of Sunshine’s sisters, on Tuesday night related that the family always believed Sunshine would get well. The transplant “took” and Sunshine no longer had cancer, but the damage to her lungs was too great, Edie said.
Plans for services had not been made at press time. The Post-Register will publish information about services for Sunshine as soon as it can.
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Here is a message from the publisher of the Post-Register, Joe Pitt, sent to the newspaper staff on Tuesday night.
“It’s with great sadness that I’m writing tonight to let you know that Sunshine Didra, the advertising representative as well as the heart and soul of the Quincy Valley Post-Register, died tonight in Seattle.
“Sunshine was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year, went through a battery of chemotherapy treatments and eventually a bone marrow transplant, and although we all believed with her sunny disposition and stubborn resolve that she would conquer this disease, in the end it conquered her.
“Sunshine truly lived up to her given name, and was an absolute joyful personality. She saw the goodness in everyone and every situation – when she was frustrated, the worst profanity she could muster was “Dang!” Her loss not only leaves a gaping hole within her family, the newspaper where she spent the majority of her career, but also the Quincy community.
“Sunshine was involved in nearly every community endeavor in the greater Quincy region, and this year she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce for what indeed was a lifetime of contributing to the community she loved.
“Sunshine was a shining example of a life well lived. A celebration of her life will be held in the coming weeks.”
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Jill FitzSimmons, the former editor of the Post-Register, sent this message Tuesday night.
“Sunshine’s unexpected passing has stunned many people, especially those of us who knew her for the vibrant, passionate person she was.
“Whether Sunshine was selling ads for the QVPR or volunteering for one of her beloved community groups, at the heart of everything she did was a true love for the Quincy community.
“Quincy is a better place because of her. And many of us were blessed to have called her a friend.”
UPDATE: Memorial service planned
The community of Quincy plans to celebrate Sunshine’s life with a memorial service next Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center. Everyone is welcome to attend.