This week’s column has to start with a correction for last week’s column. Due to a typing error, the name of the two men who put on the boxing smokers at Del Norte in the 1950s and made sure they went smoothly were Dale and Sandy Sanderson, two men I have great respect for.
Now for this week. When I entered Del Norte High School in the fall of 1947, there were a great bunch of seniors waiting to greet us.
One of these was Jim Presler. I had the privilege of watching Jim perform for the Warriors while I was a student at Crescent Elk. He was a talented athlete and a Warrior standout in football, basketball, baseball and track.
He was part of the Warrior football program when it was just coming back from having the 11-man program dropped during WWII. It was extra-special for me because I knew Jim — he was the son of my moms’ best friend, Katie Presler Molle. Seniors don’t always look kindly on freshmen, but Jim treated everyone with respect.
A true tribute to Jim’s character is the respect his classmates had for him. He served as class president during his sophomore and junior years. He was elected student body president in his senior year as well. Jim also served as president of the Royal “D” Club, which was the varsity letterman’s club, during his senior year.
With everything else Jim was doing he was an excellent student, regularly making the academic honor roll. Jim also developed a real interest in hot-rod racing and, like everything else, he was good at it.
After graduation Jim married Daroline Nelson, his high school sweetheart, and they had five great children: Robert, Larry and three girls, now all married: Bonnie Carroll, Janice Beaumont, and Kathy Dresbak.
The Presler family also opened their family to three foster children, one Ben DeMaris for nine years, another boy for three years and a girl for nine months. This is a Warrior family that I am proud to call friends.
Jim was a real fighter but unfortunately he lost his last battle, the one with leukemia, which took his life way too early in September 1983. He was special.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.