City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Diana Gawen Harris

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Age 77.
Died 05/26/2023.

Diana Gawen Harris
Diana Gawen Harris, 77, passed away in her sleep at Brookdale Senior Living in Hillsborough, NC, on May 26, 2023, after a long battle with early-onset dementia.

She was born January 22, 1946, in Arlington, Va., the daughter of the late Perry F. Gawen, Sr., and Margaret Rice Gawen. Diana was raised there until she attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where she earned a B.A. in Education. In addition to raising three children in Wrightsville Beach, NC, Diana found meaningful work in Illinois at Health for Humanity and the Baha’i National Center, which is the administrative center of the Baha'i Faith in the U.S., the principles of which defined her life. Among those were her dedication to world peace and the concept of one human race, not divided by outward differences. Her love for these was most evidenced by her marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in the rainbow of faces of those who were fortunate to make up her family. Diana had a special gift of making, not only them, but everyone around her, feel truly loved - and she loved them fiercely. She, truly, never met a stranger.

Among those Diana leaves behind are husband Joe Nickell of Buffalo, NY; daughters Cherie Roycroft, Daria (Farzin) Barazandeh, and Jaleh DeChesere; son Scott (Anice, Jackie Bell) DeChesere (decd.); brother Perry F. (Joy) Gawen, Jr.; sister Lois (Sherwood) Thompson; as well as 14 grandchildren, including Chase, Tyner, Alexis, Vahid, Leyla, Leila, Maya, Ayden, Zion, Brieanna, Gabriella, Eliana, Margaret, and Ethan; as well as many nieces, nephews, and extended family members. Diana also leaves behind one great-granddaughter, Rosalina Diana Mae.

Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, May 31st, at 11 a.m., at Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, NC, where her family will welcome - with both deep sadness and profound joy - all wishing to celebrate her life.

For additional information or for service details, please reach out to the family directly.

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City of Oaks Cremation and Funeral Home is a full-service funeral home in Raleigh, serving all of North Carolina and beyond. We provide an alternative to costly funeral homes and every day we help families in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all over North Carolina make simple, affordable funeral arrangements.

Simply having to reach out to a funeral home can feel overwhelming. Our goal is to simplify the entire funeral home experience and make the process as easy as possible. We hope to eliminate any unnecessary surprises by publishing our total cost and the services we provide directly on our website. All of our obituaries are provided free of charge as a way to help families celebrate and commemorate the lives of their loved ones.

Our Promise

Apples to Apples

Just like all other licensed funeral homes in North Carolina, City of Oaks Cremation, LLC is regulated by the NC Board of Funeral Service.

The same laws that apply to the big corporate funeral homes also apply to the modest independently owned firms like ours. All crematories in North Carolina, regardless of who owns them, are inspected annually by the state and must adhere to the same rules and laws.

Genuine Care

We're committed to providing families within our community unsurpassed service before, during and after the time of loss.

Our staff will provide clear communication to your family through each step as we move forward from the original phone call notifying us of a death to the time we deliver the urn back to your family. We will treat your family with the utmost respect, as we honor the wishes of your loved one.

We promise to make this process affordable and as endurable as possible.

State Wide

Our Funeral Home is located in Wake County NC; however, we provide our services to families throughout the entire State.

Unlike other funeral homes, we don't charge an additional mileage fee. Regardless of what county you live in, we can help your family with making simple, affordable funeral arrangements. From Asheville to Wilmington, we're proud to help families statewide.

Our Services

Direct Cremation


Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. We include everything you need for a simple or direct cremation. Simple, affordable and reliable. We have not changed the cost of our direct cremation service since we opened City of Oaks in 2012.

Cremation with Solidified Remains


We offer the option of choosing how you receive your loved ones remains. Selecting our Direct Cremation with Solidified Remains option is a beautiful way to transform cremated remains into 40-60 “stones” that you can hold.

Cremation with Visitation


City of Oaks Funeral Home and Cremation provides an affordable cremation option with onsite visitation. Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. Simple, affordable and reliable.

Immediate Burial


An immediate burial has the same end result as a traditional burial; however, we have eliminated the extra (sometimes unnecessary) services prior to getting to the cemetery. Not everyone wants an open casket for viewing or a limousine for the family. Despite the term immediate, we can move as fast as you need or as slow as you like. This option simply allows you to save money by eliminating some of the fancy extras at the funeral home.

Traditional Funeral


We offer the same traditional funeral services as the big corporately owned funeral homes in the area; however, we cost about half the amount. You might consider a traditional funeral service if your family is looking for an open casket visitation, a traditional church service or a funeral service in the funeral home's chapel. A traditional funeral service can be altered to fit the needs of your family.

Green Burial


This establishment is one of a select number of funeral homes who meet the criteria for providing green funeral service by the Green Burial Council; a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmentally sustainability in the field of funeral service. Our Green options allow for a funeral to take place without the use of toxic and non-biodegradable materials/chemicals.



As an alternative to traditional cremation, City of Oaks Funeral Home also offers Aquamation. The Aquamation process, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a solution of water and potassium hydroxide to facilitate natural decomposition.

City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations