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Wednesday, August 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Love stories: High school sweeties find lasting relationships; Shadle Park class of 1969 to celebrate 50th reunion

These three couples, from left, Hal and Karen Barker, Ron and Sheri Miller and Pat and Linda Campbell are photographed in front of Shadle Park High School on Wednesday, June 19. They all met there when they were in high school. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
These three couples, from left, Hal and Karen Barker, Ron and Sheri Miller and Pat and Linda Campbell are photographed in front of Shadle Park High School on Wednesday, June 19. They all met there when they were in high school. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Much has changed at Shadle Park High School over the past 50 years, but not the love shared by several high school sweethearts from the class of 1969 who once walked the halls together.

In preparation for their upcoming reunion, three of those couples met at the school to share some memories and to celebrate their long-lasting love stories.

Linda (Ness) and Pat Campbell, married Aug. 1, 1970

The Campbells actually met in eighth grade at Glover Middle School. By the time they arrived at Shadle, they were already a couple.

“Oh, I absolutely noticed her. She caught my eye,” recalled Pat.

Linda laughed.

“He used to ride his bike through the neighborhood.”

Despite finding each other at such a young age, the pair never broke up.

“All the proms and dances, we went to together,” Linda said.

They believed they would always be together, so she wasn’t surprised by his proposal. However, she thinks the location could have been a bit more romantic.

“I gave her a ring at Taco Time where she was working,” said Pat.

“He slid it across the table to me when I was on a break,” Linda said.

Twins, a boy and a girl arrived in 1972, and the couple now has four grandchildren.

They’ve spent most of their married life in Spokane, and their kids also attended Shadle.

“It’s twice as big now and totally turned around,” said Pat, looking around the commons at the school.

“And the pools are gone!” said Linda.

As to their long relationship, Pat said, “We didn’t contemplate how long we’d be together. We just assumed it would be forever.”

The couple cherishes the friendships they made in high school. In fact, Sheri (Petrelli) and Ron Miller live just around the corner from them.

Sheri (Petrelli) and Ron Miller, married Sept. 2, 1972

The Millers met in English class during their senior year.

Almost every week, there’d be a dance at Grafmiller’s Barn on the Little Spokane River, so for their first date, Ron invited Sheri to one.

“They sold tickets at the door, so we drove out there only to find there were no tickets at the door!” recalled Ron. “We ended up at Chico’s Pizza for dinner.”

Despite the long drive and no dance, Sheri agreed to go out with him again, but after graduation they decided to date other people.

“Well, that was the idea, but it never happened,” she said.

Ron smiled.

“By the end of my freshman year, we decided we’d be together,” he said.

While he attended WSU, she went to Spokane Community College and letters flew back and forth across the miles.

Ron worked for the U.S. Forest Service during the summer, so the couple didn’t have much time together. That can be problematic when a guy wants to propose to his girl.

Let’s just say, it didn’t happen in the most romantic of venues.

“I still hear about,” said Ron.

He was working in Enterprise, Oregon, and his parents came to visit, bringing Sheri with them.

“We couldn’t ditch my parents,” he recalled. “I had to do my laundry, so she came with me.”

Shaking her head, Sheri recalled, “He said, ‘When do you think we can get married?’ ”

Being proposed to in a laundromat might not be every girl’s dream, but it did lead to happily-ever-after for the Millers.

They had a daughter in 1977, followed by a son in 1979, and both children attended Shadle Park.

The couple have five granddaughters, and this year, two of them will be attending the school where their grandparents met.

Karen (Holms) and Hal Barker, married July 28, 1973

Karen and Hal Barker sat in the commons at Shadle Park, which is where they met 50 years ago.

“We were introduced by some friends during our senior year,” Karen said. “He had a car, so we’d all go to Arctic Circle at lunch time.”

But the couple didn’t date. Mainly because Karen was going out with one of Hal’s good friends. Still, they both got a little emotional on graduation night.

Hal was going to attend WSU (where he was in the same fraternity as Ron Miller).

“She was getting out of the car after graduation, and she turned to me and said, ‘When am I going to see you again?’ ” Hal recalled. “So, I went to see her the next day.”

Unfortunately, her boyfriend was there.

Hal had received a traffic ticket and was without his wheels, so he had to turn around and walk back home.

But the next day they went to a soap box derby, and they’ve been together ever since.

The details of his proposal are fuzzy for Hal.

“It was in your living room,” he said to Karen.

“Nope,” she replied.

“Well, you were on the couch.”

“No,” Karen said. “It was in Pullman at your apartment, just before a dance.”

The couple have spent most of their married life in Yakima. They had a daughter in 1975 and a son in 1976, and have three grandchildren.

“We come to all the reunions,” Hal said.

As the three couples reminisced about dances, football games and the Highland Lassies, fond memories emerged of the people they graduated with 50 years ago.

Hal glanced at Karen.

“Meeting her here was definitely a special Shadle memory,” he said.

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