photograph showcase

Photograph Showcase: My Grandma, the Rescue Diver

DUVAL, Deane, diving on Cd'Alene Lake - edited
Deane Alice Duval, Lake Coeur d’Alene


My Grandma was a rescue diver.

Her first name was Deane.  When she applied, on paper, they assumed she was a man.  She was more than qualified for this volunteer position so the position was offered.  When she showed up to start, they turned her away because she was a woman.  Her father walked her right back in and demanded that they honor their offer.  And they did.

She rescued people from the Spokane River, the various lakes around Spokane, and regularly volunteered at the hydroplane races.  She served in this way for years.

She told me that she quit the day she was working the hydroplane races and her team was closest to a fiery crash.  Her oldest son, my Uncle C, was on her team.  She couldn’t send him in.  That was when she knew she was a liability as long as they were diving together.  But she didn’t want him on someone else’s team either, so after many years of rescue diving, she gave it up to protect her own son.

My Grandma was a rescue diver.

That sentence never ceases to amaze me.



Happy Thursday!  Do you have any surprising hobbies, jobs, talents in your tree?  Let’s hear ’em!  xoxo




ps – This, and many other stories were told to me by my Grandma.  I recorded her sharing these details but cannot find the SD card.  Sadly, this information now lives only in my memory of the telling.


15 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: My Grandma, the Rescue Diver”

  1. That’s an incredible story, Amberly. So she did this while she was raising a family? Amazing! And good for your great-grandfather for standing up for her.

    1. Yes! And she was a single mother of four. Her divorce from my grandfather was final when her kids were really little (my mom is third and she was four years old).

      I can’t agree more on my great-grandfather being a hero in that situation. He and great-grandma were pretty amazing. They were really tough and had experienced hard things so they were big proponents of equal opportunity and that gender had no bearing on someone’s ability. I’m really grateful for that. I grew up never considering for a second that a woman can’t do something based on her gender. Great-grandpa doesn’t get all of the credit, but he sure had a lot to do with my Mom’s attitudes and experiences so he gets half of it. 😉

    1. Thank you, Cathy!! Yes, she and her parents did some really incredible things that took lots of strength and courage.

  2. What an inspiring story and how wonderful that you can share it with future generations, including that fabulous photo!

    1. Thank you!! It is a great photo. There are definite benefits to being the child of professional photographers. 😉

  3. You had me with that headline, too. I love this tale of a woman breaking barriers (even if it was with a nudge from dad). Amazing photo to have I your collection.

  4. And rightly so! That is a pretty amazing sentence. Grandma Deane was a rock star. Special kudos to her father for ensuring the offer was honored.

    Sending positive vibes that the SD card surfaces.

    1. Thank you, Michael! She really was a rock star. 🙂 And, thank you for the positive vibes. I’m hoping I find it one of these days. (Sometimes I look…)

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