Diane Bresnan Fleming, a noted glass artist and longtime Madison public school art teacher, died Wednesday at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg. She was 68.

The cause was complications from liver and kidney cancer, said a brother-in-law, Kenneth Linde.

Fleming was the subject of an October profile in the State Journal. At the time, she was enjoying a resurgence of artistic productivity despite the cancer that was slowly overtaking her body.

She credited art with enriching her life, perhaps even prolonging it.

"I just wake up each day wanting to do art, even if it’s just contributing something small to a project," she said last fall. "When you concentrate on that part of your life — the creative part, or what I also consider my spiritual part — it allows you to put away the physical part for a while."

Fleming was able to extend her life nearly 18 months beyond what had been anticipated, Linde said.

"This additional time allowed Diane to extend her gratitude to the many family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who provided support and encouragement in her battle and to exemplify how important love can be in a world that can be filled with so much emptiness," he said.

Fleming retired in 2002 after 30 years as the art teacher at Madison’s Elvehjem Elementary School.

In 2001, she collaborated with her son, Sean Fleming, on "Simply Wright: A Journey into the Ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architecture." The coffee table book for children won an outstanding achievement award in children’s literature from the Wisconsin Library Association.

Reporter Doug Erickson explores matters of faith, values and ethics. You can reach him at derickson@madison.com or 608-252-6149.

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