Love story: Diane and Ron West took a second chance on love and made it last


When 17-year-old Ron West asked 15-year-old Diane Webster to dance, he couldn’t have imagined that 54 years later, she’d still be his dance partner.

It was 1968. He noticed her at North Central High School at a football mixer after the game.

“He was a senior and I was a sophomore,” Diane recalled. “I gave him my number and he called that weekend and took me to a dance at Graffmiller’s Barn.”

They dated throughout the year; but that summer after Ron graduated they decided to take a break. The break didn’t last long.

“I was living at home and attending Spokane Falls,” he said. “I had a ’64 Ford Fairlane and I was at a car wash when she and a friend spotted me.”

The girls pulled into the car wash.

“Diane was looking pretty good,” Ron said. “I asked her what she was doing that night.”

He took her to a movie and they haven’t stopped dating since.

“If they hadn’t pulled into that car wash, who knows what would have happened?” he said.

Diane was still in high school and Ron had a job delivering prescriptions for North Hill Drug.

“I drove a Volkswagen Bug for deliveries and I’d pick her up and take her with me.”

She grinned.

“We’d stop for fries – it was fun!”

After graduating, she attended Kinman Business University and took a job at Old National Bank. They got engaged on Christmas Eve 1971 and were married at North Hill Christian Church, Aug. 26, 1972. She was 19 and he was 21.

Ron had already landed a job in pharmaceutical sales, so they were able to move into their first house on Walton Avenue in north Spokane.

“We paid $15,000 for it,” he said.

Their son, Erick, arrived in 1976 and 17 months later their son, Adam, completed the family. By that time they’d moved to a larger home in the Linwood neighborhood where they raised their family. Both boys attended North Central like their parents.

“My parents graduated from NC, too,” Diane said.

She had an in-home day care for a time, but when their youngest started school, Diane began working for Spokane Public Schools as a paraeducator. After a 32-year career with the school district, she retired in 2016.

The family spent countless hours on sports fields while the boys were growing up.

“Ron did a lot of coaching,” she said.

He shrugged.

“It started when Erick was 6 and I went to a meeting for flag football,” said Ron.

By the time the meeting concluded he was the coach.

“I ended up coaching soccer and baseball, too.”

Just before their sons left for college, Ron got the unwelcome news that the pharmaceutical company where he’d worked for 22 years was closing.

“It was a rough time,” he said.

He started a new career with Sterling Insurance, focused on the Medicare market, and when that company closed its Spokane office in 2011, he became an independent agent.

“I’m not really retired,” Ron said. “But I only work about two months out of the year. Now, I have children of my customers calling me.”

In 2008, they moved to the Indian Trail neighborhood where they were delighted to find neighbors who are also Seattle Seahawks fans.

“We’ve gone on two Seahawk bus trips with their group and we’re going again in the fall,” Diane said.

In addition to football, the couple shares a love of Ford Mustangs. As members of the Inland Empire Mustang Club, they meet twice a month with the group and attend frequent car shows and car cruises.

They also enjoy golfing, concerts and attending their five granddaughters’ sporting events.

When asked the secret to an enduring marriage, Ron had a quick answer.

“Separate bathrooms!”

Diane grinned.

“He’s got a good sense of humor and he keeps me laughing,” she said.

Fifty-four years after that high school mixer, they still enjoy each other’s company.

“We’ve had a lot of fun over the years,” said Ron. “I’m looking forward to more.”

Know someone who is in love?

Love stories celebrates relationships that are strong and enduring. Whether you’re dating, recently married, or have passed the 50-year mark, let us tell your tale. E-mail your suggestions to correspondent Cindy Hval at [email protected]

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