Delta Distad’s Bon Voyage, at the Bijou
Delta Distad, co-founder of Career Tech High School, died suddenly at the end of May in her apartment at the Dallas Retirement Village in Dallas, Oregon, where she’d lived since finishing the 2017 school year in Lincoln City.
She was born in Missoula, Montana to Loyse and Ken Chapman in 1938. Her mother was a great reader, fine poet, and especially a fun and loving mom. Her dad was a lumberman, rancher, service station owner, and a star of the Montana rodeo. The Chapman dog was a coyote. Both Delta’s parents had a deep kinship with animals, a trait she inherited and put to good use. She adored kitties. She named every deer who lived in her yard, and she never encountered a dog or wild critter without stopping to chat. Delta learned to drive at 14, and she loved clocking moose against the speedometer as they ran alongside the car. Her colorful childhood made for wonderful stories all throughout her life.
She graduated from Libby High School in 1956. She attended the University of Montana in Missoula, and later the University of Washington for her BA and Master’s Degree. She played meaningful roles in her community and felt blessed to always have fun and fulfilling work. In high school she worked at the Dairy Queen that vanished every winter under the snow. In 1963 she worked at a library in Seattle, and at a plumbing supply company, where by herself she arranged to have a supply barge bound for Alaska haul a thousand donated books she’d collected to fill a one-room library in a tiny native village. She taught history at several colleges, and upon moving to Oregon in 1983 with her husband, Don, she worked as an employment specialist and felt very lucky to get to help a whole lot of people find jobs they could feel good about. She delighted in her high school students, she loved the local beauty, breakfast at the Otis Café, and her favorite place in town was the Bijou theatre.
Delta felt most alive when a surge of well-being came unbidden, and her hope for the people she loved was that they weather the storms of life and live with joy. Per her wishes, there will be a showing at the Bijou Theatre of her all-time favorite movie, The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe, starring Pierre Richard, at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 15th, 2019.
Donations in her memory can be made to United Paws of Tillamook (P.O. Box 159, Tillamook, OR, 97141) and/or to the Bijou Theatre. She leaves behind her two girls, Romy and Naomi, some wonderful friends, and her kitty, Marycat. She was, and is, loved fiercely.