Five-plus decades of cheering for Deary

Feb. 24—In 1969 Yvonne Clark, JoAn Hocking and Kathy Rueppel were all cheerleaders at Deary High School. More than five decades later, they are still cheering for the Mustangs.

Clark, now Paterek, and Hocking and Rueppel, each now Proctor, still attend Deary home games and travel, when possible, to watch their grandchildren play just as they did for their children.

Over a recent cup of coffee and decked out in their Mustangs gear, the three women reflected on the past 55 years of watching high school sports in Deary.

"It doesn't feel that long ago," Kathy Proctor said of their time together on the cheerleading team in the late 1960s.

Kathy Proctor said in 2021 they each had a grandchild that was a senior and on the basketball team. This year, they once again each have a grandchild that is a senior at Deary. Between the three women, they have had 10 children, 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild with another the way.

"Growing up in Deary and raising our kids has been natural," JoAn Proctor said. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Paterek moved to Clarkston in the fifth grade from Georgia and spent a short time in Winchester before moving to Bovill, where she lives now. In the 1960s, the Deary and Bovill school districts combined, and that's when Paterek met JoAn and Kathy.

Paterek said their mothers made their cheerleading uniforms until 1969 when the school began providing them. JoAn Proctor said they did buy their own megaphones that year.

Kathy Proctor was a year younger than Peterek and JoAn Proctor in school, and in addition to cheerleading, the three also played on the basketball and volleyball teams together.

When they started playing basketball at Deary, female players could only dribble three times before passing the ball and each team had six players as opposed to the five-on-five games of today with no limit on dribbles.

"I love how it's changed. I just wish it had been like it is now when we were there," JoAn Proctor said.

When their children were young, the three women would spend the summers camping together or going to Dworshak Reservoir. They would always sit together when attending Deary games.

JoAn Proctor retired from the Moscow Post Office in 2009 after 30 years. Kathy Proctor retired from the Whitepine School District after 26 years in special education and speech. Peterek worked at the First Bank of Troy before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

It was January of this year when Kathy Proctor realized the three women had been attending games at Deary for 55 years and they all agreed it didn't feel that long.

"We have always been friends and I wouldn't change a thing — except maybe the three dribbles," Peterek said.

Nelson can be reached at