The Crusader Newspaper Group

Dianne Durham celebration of Life scheduled Nov 6

The family of the late champion gymnast and Gary native Dianne Durham will host a “Celebration of Life” Saturday, November 6, at 3:00 p.m. in the West Side Leadership Academy Auditorium, 900 Gerry St. in Gary. Durham died in February after a short illness. The event is free and open to the public.

“COVID-19 restrictions prohibited us from having a large memorial earlier this year,” said Durham’s husband Tom Drahozal. “We were committed to hosting this celebration as soon the guidelines permitted. West Side is the perfect location for us to welcome hundreds of guests while still being safely distanced.”

Drahozal is planning the event with Durham’s sister Alice Woods and several other family members and friends.

“Tricey, as we affectionately called her, loved Gary, and I am sure she would appreciate us celebrating her life in a city that loved and supported her throughout her entire gymnastic career,” said Woods.

Former WBBM Radio personality and Gary native Felicia Middlebrooks will serve as the emcee of the program. The program includes remarks and presentations from the City of Gary and the Gary Community School Corporation and video messages from renowned gymnasts including Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Betty Okino. 

Gymnasts scheduled to appear in person include Mary Lou Retton and members of the United States 1984 Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team, Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci, Wendy Hilliard, Mike Jacki and Paul Ziert.

“We simply ask that you bring your most joyful memories with you as we celebrate Dianne,” added Drahozal. “A life lived so happily deserves a happy remembrance. Though we experience the sadness of her passing, we can honor the best of our experiences and the echo of her positive presence.”

Attendees are asked to RSVP by October 29th to the Facebook invite at or via email to [email protected].

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