This year our Middletown Days Grand Marshal is comprised of Middletown High School graduates.  Specifically, those who graduated in 1968 and prior who still live in Middletown, Cobb and Hidden Valley.

Middletown Unified New building - 1963 (now the High School)
1963 Middletown High School students 

Class of 1958 - 5 Kids in the graduating class.

Darlene Weatherwax Simmons, lives in Middletown

FONDEST MEMORY:  She moved up from Los Angeles and started as a Sophomore.  There was a Sadie Hawkins Day race.  The guys were given a head start and she got to wear Levi’s she borrowed from her brother.  She ended up having to chase the boys through a creek to catch one.  She doesn’t remember who she eventually caught and went to the dance with, but she does remember that her brother was mad because she shrunk his jeans.

FAVORITE TEACHER:  Marilyn Tallman who taught Home Ec and Girls P.E.  She didn’t know how to type so she had Darlene sit up front and instruct.

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP IN MIDDLETOWN:  The friendliness and the homey feeling.

Class of 1961 - 18 Kids in the graduating class

Jon Emerson, lives in Middletown

Half-back and Co-Captain of the football team and Prom King

FONDEST MEMORY OF MIDDLTOWN HIGH:  All the folks that are no longer with us.

OTHER REMEMBRANCES:  Growing up on Cobb with only 5 other kids before T.V. and when not every home had a telephone.  Fishing, hunting, and skinny dipping in the creek.  Especially that time that Bruce’s older brother yelled, “Watch out!” after he let out a few “floaters.”  All the boys fighting fires as early as 12 and 15. And, the boys being “pretty wild” to the point of the Sheriff saying “We don’t go to Middletown.  They  take care of their own.”

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP IN MIDDLETOWN:  It didn't matter who you were.  Everyone treated the rich and poor alike.  Those that had took care of those that didn’t.  If someone didn’t have shoes, you bought them a pair of shoes.

Class of 1963 - 11 Kids in the graduating class

Billie Miller, lives in Middletown.

Prom Queen and Former Lunch Lady

FONDEST MEMORY OF MIDDLETOWN AND MIDDLETOWN HIGH:  As a Freshman from Richmond where the graduating class size was 700 and she felt like a lost soul.”  But, that changed when her family moved to Middletown just a few weeks before the first Middletown Days in 1961.   What she remembers most and what she fell in love with that first summer is how close everyone was at the parade and all throughout the small town that day.  And, then when school started meeting Beverly Noble Mangue and Sandi Heide and thinking her “true life and who she was had finally started.”

FAVORITE TEACHERS:  Marilyn Tallman, P.E. and Home Ec teacher, who was so easy to be around.  So knowledgeable and very likable.   And, also, Dave Robertson, English teacher.  Very understanding, knew how to teach will a little humor and very pleasant. 

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP IN MIDDLETOWN:   A small community and lots of continuity.

Class of 1964 – 19 Kids in the graduating class

Les Hilger, lives in Middletown

BEST THINK ABOUT GROWING UP IN MIDDLETOWN:  After coming from a large school to a small school, he likes the quite, the peace and the natural beauty here.

Kathy Hedgpeth Roberts

Junior – Senior Prom Queen, member of the Pep Club and Editor-In-Chief of the Hoofbeat

FONDEST MEMORY:  Just the friendliness of everyone.  She transferred to Middletown High in the Middle of her Senior year.  She had been friends with a student here named Jim Eshom ever since they were toddlers and he introduced her to everyone including his girlfriend Joyce Ingle who later became her good friend.

OTHER REMEMBRANCES:  Jumping in the car with her friends if she didn’t have homework and going out to the Riverview Resort off Big Canyon Road to go swimming.  There was a tree with a rope swing and the water was deep.

Class of 1965 - 23 Kids in the graduating class

Gehlen Palmer,  lives in Middletown

Student Council Junior Class Treasurer and Senior Class President

Military Service:  U.S. Coast Guard, E-5 Journalist 2nd Class 1967-1972

FONDEST MEMORIES:  Putting on 2 one-act plays Senior year.  Building the sets, doing the costumers,  gathering furniture, etc.  It gave him an appreciation for Community Theatre.  And, going with his best friend Clem “Jupe” Barceloux to see the Beatles at the Cow Palace in August 1964.  They really did only just see them because they couldn’t hear them over the screaming. The were the only people in town to get to go. 

FAVORITE TEACHER:  Dave Robertson the English teacher, who instilled in him a new appreciation for reading and writing.  He also taught him Public Speaking and got him interested in Theatre Arts when he took a group of students to see West Side Story at SRJC in May of 1962.  It was a life changing experience for Gehlen. 


Class of 1966 – 19 Kids in the graduating class.

Diane Dunkin Fleenor, lives in Middletown

Miss Middletown of 1964

FUNNIEST MEMORY GROWING UP IN A SMALL TOWN:  She got to sing on a T.V show on Channel 3 in Sacramento.  At the time there were not many T.V.s in town, but since her dad was a T.V. repairman, her family had one.  She invited some of her classmates to watch and afterward they walked to the drugstore for a coke.  A guy came out of Noble’s and his mouth dropped to the ground.  Recognizing her and not realizing the show was pre-taped he said, “Wow, you must have took a jet!”

FAVORITE TEACHER:  Mr. Robert Mora who taught band and chorus and “just made everything wonderful.”  He could play a lot of instruments, but, he couldn’t play piano so Diane played from 7th to senior year.

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP IN MIDDLETOWN:  The closeness and fellowship of a loving community.  Everyone always pulled together and if one hurt we all hurt.  She loved Middltown so much gave she up a recording contract because she couldn’t bear to leave and have to tour.

Class of 1968 – 26 Kids in the graduating class.

Jim Comstock, lives in Middletown

Millitary Service:  Navy, AT2 Second Class Petty Officer, Vietnam Veteran

FONDEST MEMORY:  Knowing everyone in the whole school.

FAVORITE TEACHER:  Mr. Hicks the shop teacher.  The first day of class was the day after Labor Day and he thought it was Monday as he was laying out the schedule and Jim interrupted him to let him know it was already Tuesday.  Mr. Hicks thanked him for standing up to set him straight.

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP IN MIDDLETOWN:  It was a small town and everyone knew each other adults and kids alike.  Everyone watched out for each other and no one wanted to do anything wrong because everyone would know about it.

FUNNIEST MEMORY GROWING UP IN A SMALL TOWN:  There was an older gent named Will Cunningham who owned a 1940’s car but he couldn’t drive it well anymore.  You could hear the engine racing all over town and you knew he was coming.  Everyone knew just to get out of the way.

Middletown High School Student Body - 1961
MHS Staff - 1961
Middletown Day's Grand Marshal Recipients

1985 - Grand Marshal:  Mike Thompson

1987--Grand Marshal: Assemblywoman Bev Hanson.

1988--No Grand Marshal
1989--No Grand Marshal
1990--Grand Marshals: Rudy and Barbara Yudnich
1991--No Grand Marshal
 1992--Grand Marshal: Jack Barker
1993--Grand Marshal: Jim Garrett                                      Theme:  "Best in the West"
1994--Grand Marshal: Luke Simon
1995--Grand Marshals: Burt and Dorothea Swallow      Theme: "The Cowboy Way"
1996--G. Marshals: Judith and Walter Hardester      Theme: Small town traditions
1997--Grand Marshal: Earl Huston                               Theme: Hometown Hoedown
1998--Grand Marshal: Bob Donley              Theme: 100 Years of Western Tradition 1999--Grand Marshal: Earle Wrieden                Theme: Riding through the decades
2000--Grand Marshals: Wayne and Kim Jackson                  Theme: Starting Anew
2001--Grand Marshals Orville and Karen Magoon             Theme: Boots and Spurs  
2002--Grand Marshals: John and Jean Gay            Theme: She`s A Grand Ol` Flag
2003--GM: Mdtn Lions and Lioness Clubs        Theme: Celebrating the All American Small Town   
2004--GM: Middletown Rancheria            Theme: Western Ways for Western Days  2005--Grand Marshals Molly and Dennis Euken         Theme: The Wild Wild West
2006--Grand Marshals: Mike and Karen Jones     Theme: 45 Years of Pure Country
2007--Grand Marshal Dave Leary                                    Theme: Back in the Ole West 2008--GM Jim and Hettie Hendrickson         Theme: Beneath These Western Skies 2009--Grand Marshal: Wayne Nelson                                        Theme: Bits and Spurs
2010--Grand Marshal: Jim Comstock                            Theme: Spirit of the Old West
2011--Grand Marshal: Dave Hall                                       Theme: 50 Years of Fun
2012--Grand Marshal:  Martha Webster                                                      Theme: Family Fun for Everyone

2013 -- Grand Marshals: Gail & Bill Wright                                                Theme: Long Live Western Heritage
2014--Grand Marshal:  George Sweat                                                   Theme: Long Live Western Heritage

2015--Grand Marshal's:  Jim & Carol Bolander                                               Theme:  Long Live Western Heritage

2016 - Grand Marshal - Calpine at The Geysers                                                        Theme:  Long Live Western Heritage

2017 - Grand Marshal - The Parker family                                                                   Theme: Shades of the Old West

2018 - Grand Marshal - MHS Graduates prior to 1968

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