Duane Barnhart is a “native” of the Flathead, born in Whitefish & growing up in Columbia Falls. Father Ray was a long-time businessman, Jaycee, VFW post commander, volunteer firefighter and mayor of Columbia Falls. Mom, Irene, was a Jayceen, VFW Auxiliary officer and helped Ray and co-owner, Fred Fowler run B & F Excavating while raising two boys.
Brother Don owns and operates B & F in Columbia Falls and has served as fire chief and councilman for the city. He and his wife, Barb, are parents of 2 girls, Carrie and Dawn.
Duane graduated in ’77 and moved on to Montana State University with his best friend, Eric Woster, earning a degree in media arts in 1982. He and wife, Robin Allen, were married in 1990 and are the parents of 13 yr. old Michael and 10 yr. old Molly Ann.
Robin, along with sister Brooke, helped lead the Columbia Falls girls basketball team to the State AA championship in the 80’s. She’s a high school teacher, DECA leader, basketball and track coach as well as a loving mom and wife.
Duane credits his love and appreciation of music to long-time Columbia Falls High School band director, Don Lawrence, who “taught me discipline and hard work pays off, even when you have little or no talent.”
He gave up his position as Montana State High School DECA president to play with the Columbians at the University of Idaho jazz festival as 4th chair trumpet and fluegelhorn player.
“Anyone who heard me play knows why I talk for a living now.”
Duane’s love for the greatest hits of all time began with his babysitter, Emma Grigg, who took him to his first Elvis movie in his pre-school years, he’s been a Presley fan ever since. Cousin, Sherry (Schulte) Martindale, let him stay up late and watch beach movies on TV, where he developed his first “crush” on Annette Funicello (or was it Deborah Walley?).
Later on, brother Don had a copy of the Beatles “white album,” which Duane admits “wearing out on the family’s state-of-the-art RCA stereo purchased at Melby’s.”
You can reach Duane with comments, requests and to talk about old times growing up in the Flathead via email. Click Here To E-Mail Duane