Alta is celebrating her 100th birthday on Tuesday with her grandson Alan Durrant who was born on her 50th birthday. Alta Durrant was born in 1919 to Thomas and Alta Palmer in Winder, Idaho. She grew up in Winder where her father had a dry farm and a herd of dairy cows. She grew up with four brothers — Leo, Shirley, Dean and Quinn and three sisters — Maggie, Beulah and Della. On the farm, she learned to work hard and help take care of her younger siblings. She graduated from high school in Preston and went to Ricks College, then to Utah State where she majored in education before graduating in 1969 from Idaho State University where three generations of her children and grandchildren followed in her footsteps.
She met Cecil Durrant in Preston and they were married on Jan. 3, 1939, in the Logan, Utah Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple. They had seven children: Anne (Don) Sullivan, Tom (Bonnie) Durrant, Gordon (Colleen) Durrant, Marlene (Rod) Jenks, Larry (Lezlie) Durrant and Dean (Darlene) Durrant. Durrant is also grandmother to 32 grandchildren, 63 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. During her married life with Cecil, they lived in Idaho Falls, Billings, Jerome and Tremonton, before settling in Pocatello. Cecil drove a truck for several companies, and it was Garrett Freight Lines that brought them to Pocatello. Alta is active in the LDS church and during her long life, she has served in many callings, playing piano and the organ up to a few years ago. She served as the stake primary president in Jerome for 13 years. Her love of music developed at a young age, taking piano lessons, then playing in several bands and orchestras over the years. She was an active member of the Silver Chords Chorus at the Pocatello Senior Center as their main pianist until two years ago. Her love of music was instilled in her children and grandchildren and continues on.
Cecil passed away in April 1976. Alta taught special education classes in Pocatello from 1966 to 1986 at Lincoln Elementary before retiring to serve a mission for the LDS church in San Diego, California among the Laotian people. In 1991, she married Jay Tilby and moved to Burley, Idaho. Together they traveled the world, visiting family and friends and enjoyed serving in the Boise LDS temple for five years. After Jay passed away, she married Russell Woolley and lived in Jerome until he passed away three years later. She came back to Pocatello to her house and has spent her time performing with the Silver Chords, spending time with family and friends and staying active in the church, serving as ward organist for many years. Alta has led an active life of service and dedication to both teaching and her family. Her family is celebrating at a private celebration on Saturday in Idaho Falls. Her ward is celebrating on Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gwen building.