The Duncan Banner

Local News

February 14, 2013

Love discovered ... stage left

DUNCAN — For some, true love is found easily and early, however, others find their one and only after life has had time to shape them into the people they need to be in order to make it work.

Darrel Ashford and Tana Latham Ashford grew up in the Duncan area, shared all of the same friends and many of the same interests, yet they didn’t meet until years after their high school graduations in 1992. One of those shared interests was theater and they barely missed each other in the early 90s in Duncan Little Theatre productions.

“I did a lot of productions, then this one year I skipped one production, MASH, and that’s the one Darrel did in 1995,” said Tana.

The couple each had first marriages that ended in divorce and those splits led them back to DLT. In February 2010, they were cast together in “The Butler Did It Singing.” Both were dating again, Darrel was even in a relationship, however, they both caught the other’s eye.

“She walks into the scene and I was blown away,” Darrel remembers. “I was immediately intimidated because here’s this woman who is beautiful, dripping with class and reserved and I just thought she was way out of my league.”

“He was this really attractive guy but he was real quiet and serious,” Tana said.

Despite both pretending not to be interested in each other, they became friends who gave each other advice and as their current relationships fell apart, they became closer. Their first official date was in August 2010 at DLT Limelights, an award show for those involved with the previous theater season.

“If it weren’t for Duncan Little Theatre, we would have never met,” Tana said. “After ‘Butler Did It’ our circles never crossed again, so that’s how I know.”

In Darrel and Tana’s situation, it wasn’t just the melding of two hearts and lives, but of an entire family. Darrel has three children Jewell, Caitlyn and Little Darrel (or Big N’) who are now 15, 12 and 10 respectively. Tana has two girls Kaylee and Kylen Cooper, now 13 and 11.

Darrel wasn’t looking for another marriage when he and Tana began dating because the way he saw it, he was fine raising his children and being on his own. However, as time began to pass, Darrel realized Tana and her children were just what he wanted. They were married June 11, 2011 at Butterfields on Main Street in a Wizard of Oz themed ceremony.

“There was no reason to get married, there was no need but you have to want to get married,” said Darrel. “There is no obligation to be in a relationship, it’s a desire and it’s honestly easier with the seven of us together than it was apart.”

With five children who are or close to being teenagers, life comes at a fast pace with no set routine for the Ashfords. Having a good communication system and being able to trust and depend on one another keeps their relationship strong.

Finding positive people to surround themselves with and the right church family with Stephens County Worship Center has helped in this endeavor.

“We’re lucky to have the chance to start over and I know that the relationship we have is uncommon and I know how blessed we are,” Tana said. “The marriage has to be solid for the family to be whole and our children will know how a wife is to treat a husband and how a husband is to treat a wife.”

The Ashfords said they make a conscious effort to keep romance and affection in their everyday interaction from having lunch dates to just having short periods of time shut away from the kids to have adult conversation. With the social media world available, they frequent each other’s Facebook page with sweet words of adoration or encouragement.

“We don’t say anything on Facebook that we wouldn’t say in a room full of people,” Darrel said.

“He is always encouraging me and lifting me up with praise,” Tana said. “I know what it is to be valued.”

Finding a second chance at love is something that the couple doesn’t take for granted. Despite the challenges and the hard times that come with every marriage and every family, they say they work through it and go on while never losing the love and attraction that brought them together.

“If we could explain it, everyone could do it,” Darrel said. “It’s not a formula; there’s a little bit of magic and here we are three years down the road and we still feel the spark everyday.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Bench found competent, trial to start Monday

    A jury took 50 minutes on Thursday to find Miles Sterling Bench competent to stand trial for first-degree murder  and District Judge Joe Enos scheduled the trial to begin Monday.
    Bench, 23, of, Velma, is accused of the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry of Velma. She was killed in June 2012 in the Teepee Totem convenience store in Velma where Bench was employed.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 Miller and Decathlon 0016.jpg Miller pumps up decathlon students

    Dr. Ché Miller, who helped bridge a funding gap needed to send the Duncan High School Decathlon Team to the national competition in Hawaii, gave the team a pep talk on Thursday.
    Miller, recently recognized as the Man of the Year by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the students they are about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and advised them to absorb as much of the experience as they can.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Churches prepare for Easter Sunday

    Churches throughout Duncan and Stephens County are preparing to celebrate Easter this Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.
    Today is known as Good Friday to mark the day Christ was crucified on a cross.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 lauren-ellis mug.jpg Ellis named new CEO of regional United Way

    Lauren Ellis, who’s led the United Way of Stephens County for more than two years, has been named the new chief executive officer of the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma.
    Her new job will be based in Lawton but Ellis said she will remain in Duncan and commute.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jurors to decide Bench competency issue today

    Jurors will hear final arguments on Thursday and then be asked to determine whether  23-year-old Miles Sterling Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry nearly two years ago.

    April 17, 2014

  • 4-17 Decathlon Team1 0127.jpg DHS Decathlon Teams prepares

    Not every high school student gets an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the 10 team members of the Duncan High School Decathlon Team.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baseball tourney to be held in Wiles' memory

    The Duncan Middle School baseball team will hold a tournament in memory of the late Alyssa Wiles.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corporon memorial planned for Friday in Marlow

    A candlelight vigil for Dr. William Corporon and his grandson Reat Underwood will be held at Marlow High School at 8 p.m. Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gay recuses himself from Morales trial

    Associate District Judge Dennis Gay on Wednesday disqualified himself from the trial of Dr. Oscar Morales Jr.

    April 17, 2014

  • Psychologists disagree on Bench’s mental competency

    Two psychologists on Tuesday offered differing opinions  about the mental competency of Miles Sterling Bench to stand trial for first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Braylee Henry.
    Bench, dressed in a dark blue suit, sat through a second day of court proceedings that will determine if the case against him goes to trial. The state is seeking the death penalty.

    April 16, 2014


Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results
AP Video