By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE – From 1934-1938, Leigh Diller sat in a desk at the Boyceville High School which was then where it currently sits now along the bank of Tiffany Creek.
Diller was born in 1921 on the family farm two and half miles north of Connorsville in the Town of New Haven. When he was about six years old he started school at the old Hilson Country School.
Leigh’s parents hauled him and his siblings to school each day until he started high school. Then it was the big yellow bus that picked him and the other kids in the area up.
Leigh remembers that it was during his senior year that the school got a second bus.
While in school, Leigh had just four teachers with one also acting as principal.
He was taught standard classes such as English, Algebra, Social Studies, Geometry, Typing and Biology.
One day his smart mouth got him kicked out of math class when he told the teacher her eyesight must bad. With Leigh out of class, the teacher made some remark about him not doing well on the state test, well Leigh showed her after he earned the top grade.
Another memory that give Leigh a good laugh is recalling the time he thought he was whispering to the girl sitting next to him. Well the teacher wasn’t happy with the commotion and made Leigh sit with the freshmen.
During that time, the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors each had their own section of desks that took up space in the one assembly room.
Outside of classes, Leigh was involved in basketball, but as a farm boy he was placed on the second team. He also played football starting in his junior year. There was an 11 man and an eight man team.
“Boyceville and Glenwood were the only two teams to have an 11 man teams so the winner of that game was the champion,” said Leigh.
Those with eight man teams were schools like Baldwin and the Dunn County “Agies” as Leigh called them. Boyceville played them and were the champions during his time on the team.
A fond memory Leigh has is playing catch with the great Andy Pafko during the noon hours. Outside of school and after graduation, Leigh spent time on the field playing “kittenball” and later baseball.
The field during that time was where the old bowling alley stood near the trailer park.
It was on that field that Leigh remembers playing a game where his team was down by five runs. A grand slam was hit and then another home run, which tied the game.
Leigh took to the plate and hit a home run himself, which didn’t happen often he said and the game was won.
After school, he took up Dartball, which was played in the churches or at the local taverns. He also began bowling on a senior league in Glenwood City a handful of years back.
After high school Leigh continued to work on the farm raising cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. and crops.
His twin sisters “the famous Connorsville twins” moved to the Cities so Leigh kept the responsibility, which he did until 1972 when he sold the cows, but kept the beef and crops.
Then when he went through his cancer operation in 1982, he began to rent the land out and stepped away from the farm life.
After the turn of events, he and his wife Nancy decided it seemed like a good time to downsize so they moved to town after Leigh spent 82 years on the farm.
Throughout the years of farming, Leigh was also the treasurer for the Town of New Haven for 48 years with time also spent on the Glenhaven Nursing Home Board as well as treasury for his church.
Since marrying Nancy nearly 20 years ago, Leigh has become stepdad to six children and now has 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchild with Nancy.
Together, Leigh and Nancy now watch their Brewer’s games and cheer on the Packers as Leigh is quite the avid sports watcher.
The two laughed as Leigh called it a compromise as he has to watch her shows like the Bachlorette and Dancing with the Stars.
Both are still involved at their Methodist Church in town of which Leigh is one of the oldest living members.
It was through the church that Leigh met Nancy in 1995 as she was a Pastor for three churches in the area after moving to town from Ashland. The two hit it off and married the following October.
For the first time in 18 years, a new ring is resting in the place where his wedding ring has left an indent.
After getting shined up for the first time since 1938, Leigh now proudly wears his class ring that was purchased from Jostens his senior year.
It is a 10k gold ring with a “B” in the center that is a bit worn down, but aside from that it looks to be brand new.
Aside from the ring, Leigh still has two class letters, his class sweater and diploma amongst a few other well preserved items.