A loving tribute to Robin DeRyckere

By Wendy van Diver

For 23 years, the publisher of About Town Magazines, Robin Diener De Ryckere, fought the brave fight against breast cancer. Through countless hardships and setbacks, she remained strong and optimistic. Robin’s courageous battle ended on Saturday, April 22, 2023, when she died peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family and friends.

I have had the pleasure of working as Robin’s editor for the past 4 1/2 years. I first met her on a media tour in Door County, Wisconsin in the fall of 2018. When I asked Robin if she had a copy of About Town to show me, she proudly presented me with a small stack of the current issue, neatly wrapped with a beautiful bow. At the time, I was the editor of a national wine tourism magazine, itching for a change. After spending two days with Robin and hearing how passionate she was about her beautiful publication, it was an easy decision when she asked me to come work for her.

Robin was the beloved wife of 40 years to Dale, mother to Lindsey and David, and sister to Scott (Jean) Diener. Brothers Jeff (Kathy) and Larry Diener preceded her in death. She is also survived by her six nieces and nephews, whom she adored.

Robin was born in Los Angeles on October 27, 1953, to Roslyn and Edgar Diener. She attended Arcadia High School where she was the pep squad captain of the Class of 1971. She received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education from SDSU where she was also a proud member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority.

Robin began her career as a much-loved elementary teacher at Silver Gate, Anza, and Vista Grande Elementary schools. From there, she moved into the field of sales and marketing. Drawing from her experience in education and her talents as a caring, smart, innovative, and creative woman, she made a real impact on her community. She founded Robinwrap, a line of high-quality gift-wrapping paper to raise funds for local schools; worked as a marketing instructor at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising; and mentored those newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Robin was passionate about her magazine and cared deeply for her clients and work colleagues. She was a joyful leader, always filled with contagious positivity and a “can-do” attitude. Robin was delightful to work with. Not only did she respect the talents of her sales representatives and creative team, but she also truly cared about us as individuals. She also loved garden walks, dining out, traveling with family and friends, and—according to her daughter Lindsey—she relished a martini, up with a twist!

When I last visited Robin about two weeks before she passed, she was seated on her living room sofa. I joined her and we sat there for two hours, talking about the magazine, our families, and life in general. I read some poems  to her from A.A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young, and she told me more about her teaching days. When we hugged goodbye, I had no idea that it was for the last time. As I write this, I feel her presence. I am straining to hear her say what she always told us when she signed off on something: “Good to go.”


Steadily strong and determined, Robin faced her challenges bravely with abundant grace. Robin always had a way of brightening the room and making everyone around her feel valued and appreciated. She will forever be an inspiration to those who were fortunate enough to have known her. We will love you forever, Robin.

From her colleagues and clients

“Over the 11 years that I worked with Robin, she became more than a colleague. She was a trusted friend and an incredible role model. Robin was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and compassionate people I have ever met. She created a magazine that I was proud to be part of. She will be dearly missed.”
– Alyssa McNees, About Town Magazines

“Robin was warm, smart, and funny. A very real person.”
– Molly Rossettie, Hi Sweetheart

“It was always a pleasure to work with Robin to showcase some of San Diego’s most beautiful hotels. She brought such a wonderful light and energy wherever she went.”
– Annalise Dewhurst, La Valencia Hotel

“Robin always radiated light and joy whenever she came into our office. She always had a big smile and dressed to the nines. She never was in a rush. We laughed and we cried together, and really just loved each other.”
– Linda Daniels, The Daniels Group

“Robin was honestly one of the sweetest, kindest ladies. I always loved seeing her walk through our door.”
– Lindsay Boynton, Cedros Soles

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.” —A. A. Milne