Alumni Stories

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Roberta Wright Chadney

Roberta Wright Chadney

Class of 1956

HIGH SCHOOL YEARS - Roberta was in FHA and was the District VP her junior year. She was on the Beaver Staff, and was the Feature Editor her junior year. Roberta was the class secretary her sophomore year, and was on the Student Council. She was in GAA and Chemocrats. She played the oboe (a new one for me) in the band, and was in the all school play. Now in addition to playing the oboe (and the drums) in the regular school band, she was in Nellie Poole’s accordion band. (And I had completely forgotten about Nellie Poole.)
FROM THE YEARBOOK - “I will my oboe to anybody who thinks they can play it.”
FROM THE MAY 26, 1956 BEAVER “Roberta Wright wills the novel ‘Great Expectations’ to next year’s senior class.”
CLASS OF 1956 REUNITED AFTER TWENTY YEARS - “Winner of Pulitzer Prize for her recent book.” (Digressing for a moment, Bobbi tells me that she had forgotten this, but is going to get right on it.)
AFTER HIGH SCHOOL – Roberta received a scholarship to Carroll College (but only stayed one semester). In 1958 she received a 2-year teaching diploma from Western. She taught elementary school in Miles City and Townsend. When she and “forever” friend, Bea (Benson) Nelson (we did Bea’s profile in February) decided to return to college life (in the early 60’s) at Montana State they got an apartment together in Bozeman.
Following that Roberta took an elementary teaching job in Portland, Oregon. HERE IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT. In the summer, Roberta worked for Union Oil Company in their ‘Sparkle Corps’. This was a program where girls (ladies?) were given new cars and traveled throughout their territory inspecting Union Oil gas stations for cleanliness and service. Roberta’s territory included all of Oregon and parts of Idaho. (And don’t we all remember when someone pumped our gas, cleaned our windows, checked our oil, and filled our tires - for about 25 cents a gallon.) Roberta says she really felt strange when the October 1993 Smithsonian Magazine featured gas station history and included the Sparkle Corp!
Roberta met Jim Chadney in Portland on a blind date in 1963, and they married in 1965.They moved to Michigan where Jim received a PhD in cultural Anthropology from MSU while Roberta taught school and began a graduate degree in international education (but never did get it completed!)
In 1968 they moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa where Jim spent a 31-year career at the University of Northern Iowa and Roberta (again) taught before entering real estate sales. During those years she received an AAUW grant to study educational media at UNI, was a member of the city’s board of adjustment, treasurer for her district’s state representative and served for 6 years on the board of the YWCA.
In 1999, Jim was chosen as Dean of Liberal Arts at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, and they were at last able to return to Oregon where their 2 sons had moved after completing their education. Roberta was “retired” by 1999 and Jim retired (again) in 2005.
FAMILY - Roberta and Jim have two sons. James III (Jay) is married to Terri. They have 3 children: Brandon (11) and 2 children adopted as babies: Connor (6), and Mimi Jade (2).OK now get this. Mimi was adopted from CHINA! Jay and Terri own and operate West Coast Health and Fitness Center and VideoRama in Portland.
Garett is principal broker with REMAX Equity Group in Gresham, is divorced, and has one son, Alexander (10). This year he is president-elect of the Portland East Metro Board of Realtors.
LEISURE ACTIVITIES - Roberta and Jim are also world travelers. They have traveled extensively throughout the US (sometimes in their RV). With their 2 young sons they traveled Northern India as Jim did research (including areas that are now off limits to foreigners). As tourists they have been to the British Isles and France. They most recently traveled to Australia and New Zealand and are planning a trip to Banff, Canada in August.
Roberta is now involved in the local Newcomers Club, recently as president. She likes to read (mysteries and historical/political novels). She says she thinks she should start sewing again now that she has a granddaughter, but has not yet found the time – especially with having been reminded to start writing that novel!
HIGH SCHOOL MEMORIES - Roberta particularly remembers Mr. Golde and his chemistry class. She had always been good friends with Mrs. Andrus (Home Ec) and her family. She remembers she and several close girlfriends which included Dottie (Anderson) Hilger among many others (if you remember being in that group email Roberta!) getting in “big trouble” with Pat Curran for wearing skirts that ended above the knee to his English class (my how times change)! Roberta’s other close girlfriends in the Class of ’56 also included Carol McMannis, Margaret Ann Wolfe, Dalene Lessey, and Magda Rouse.

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Lost Class Rings

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