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Wherefore art thou Class of 1970?


Last updated 4/6/2015 at 6:26pm

Darla Jean and Darryl James. Darryl James and Darla Jean. Now there are two twin names that just roll off your tongue. Darryl and Darla Smith are the fourth of five sets of twins that I’ve been privileged to write about and with whom I graduated in the Havre High School Class of 1970.

It seems that in late January 1952, Mrs. Smith found out she was expecting twins. Twins! She spent the next two weeks crying. Darla arrived February 9 in Scobey, Montana. One hour later Darryl joined her. The crying ceased and the work commenced. A great deal of love also began, not only between the parents and babies, but a special bond of love between a brother and a sister … that just happened to be twins.

Darla and Darryl joined older siblings Vickie and Danny. A younger brother (Curtis) and sister (Charlotte) would be added later.

Darla and Darryl’s education began in Scobey with first and second grades; at that time there was no kindergarten. Havre’s Sunnyside School was their stopover for third, fourth and fifth grades. It was only during their fifth grade that they were in the same classroom. Sixth grade was in Glasgow; seventh grade in Scobey; and then eighth grade through graduation was in Havre. The teachers that Darla remembers were Mrs. Margaris, Molly Keller and Dee Willits. Darryl recalls Mr. Schmaing, Mr. Price, Mr. Kuka, Mrs. Margaris and Mr. Molen.

This set of twins was not short on friends; as Darryl recalls “Larry Scharfe, Tom Hertsgaard, Dennis Springer, Mickey Williams, Jim Catt, Larry Conners, Mark Hanson, Debbie Duty and many others.” Darla’s list includes “Patti Larson, Kathy Watson, Denise Mapes, Pam Stark, Roxanne Taylor, Patsy Sasaki, Morb Callahan, Sig Schuster, Kris Fuglevand, Cathy Dahl, Teresa Runnion, Marianne Hopkins, Karen Fisher and Rita Draeger.”

Darla moved to Great Falls with their parents after graduation and went to cosmetology school in the fall of 1970. Following this education she worked for a couple of years in Great Falls, then moved back to Havre and managed the Balcony Salon in the old Havre Hotel until it burned down. She then moved to Missoula in 1975 and attended Barber College.

After her shop burned down, Darla moved in with Darryl, and he introduced her to his best friend, Ray Cherry. Ray was a math teacher and boy’s gymnastic coach at Sentinel High.

In the summer of 1977, Ray and Darla were married. Their son, Tyler, is married to Molly, and they have given Darla and her husband three granddaughters: Kodie, Landyn and Holland. Tyler teaches math and coaches soccer in Stevensville, Montana.

Ray and Darla's older daughter, Lexi, is married to Jerrod and they have three children: Caleb, Brielle and Adilyn. Lexi has a teaching degree and works in an office for a firm that manufactures and sells commercial cabinets in Fairview, Montana.

Darla and Ray’s youngest daughter, Candy, is married to Josh. Candy had a teacher’s degree and then went back to school, and is now a Registered Nurse. They live in Billings.

Darryl played baseball the first summer out of high school. In the fall he enrolled at Northern Montana College and attended for two years. He then transferred to Eastern Montana College in Billings where he played baseball. He graduated in 1975 with a BS in special education. Darryl moved to Missoula and started teaching at Sentinel in the fall of 1975.

In July, 1978 Darryl married Melodee Lynn Singer and they have three children Tanner, Cory and Allyson. They were divorced in 1988.

Darryl taught for 31 years at Sentinel and coached football. He retired from teaching in Montana in 2006 and started teaching life skills in Salem, Oregon and coaching football at Willamette University with his oldest son, Tanner. He retired from teaching in Oregon in 2014, but continues to coach at Williamette University.

Tanner and his wife Shauna have given him three grandchildren: Pacey, Trevor and Tate. Darryl sees them often and spoils them as much as possible. His middle son, Cory, is a psychologist in Missoula; and daughter, Allyson, teaches kindergarten in Hawaii.

Darla and Ray are now retired and are “snow birds” in Lake Havasu, Arizona. They live in Missoula the rest of the year. Darla says, “After being married for 37 years and living in Missoula for that entire time we are fortunate enough to continue enjoying visiting our kids and grandchildren and watching all their activities. We also enjoy time with our good friends in Missoula and Lake Havasu.”

Darryl and Darla have lost both of their parents but still have their siblings. They have a “Smith Kids” reunion every summer. Life is good and they feel very blessed.

When asked, what words of wisdom do you have for your fellow classmates? Darla shared: “Your life is what you make it — so choose to be happy! I hope to see you all at the Fossil Festival.”

Darryl said: “Having kids and grandchildren has made life worthwhile. I am still close to my sister, Darla, and her kids, and it has been great seeing our kids grow up together.”

Closing thoughts? Darryl revealed: “I have spent 39 years teaching and coaching and have loved it but spending time with my family and grandchildren have made my life full. It will be nice to see the gang at the Fossil Festival if I can work it around the football season. Take care. Go Blue Ponies! Beer, Beer for old Havre High … .”

Darla’s closing thoughts are: “If you haven’t toured Havre Beneath the Streets, do it. It is awesome. Go Blue Ponies.*

Ila McClenahan is the pastoral care and activity director for Northern Montana Health Care.


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