Reprinted from the April 2019 issue of The Good Life Park Cities.

Chris and Diana Blackman started off running–literally. The couple met in the Park Cities morning running group. They are both avid runners and Texans, through and through. Married six years ago at an outdoor chapel in Dripping Springs, Texas, their wedding cake was a large state of Texas with two runners atop the cake. Chris grew up in East Texas—Longview—where he lived until he went to the University of Texas. Diana grew up in Highland Park and attended Christ the King School and stayed local to attend Southern Methodist University (SMU). Chris received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas (UT) and has worked in a variety of fields, such as oil and gas, the music industry, and residential and commercial real estate. He is currently with Compass Real Estate and  thrilled to be part of their team. Diana received multiple degrees from SMU bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, as well as a Master’s of Science in Counseling. Diana has dedicated much of her life to SMU and has been there since she was 18. She has been a professor in the English department for 24 years, serving as director of the writing program for the last 12 years. However, it seems to be time for a change. She obtained her real estate license last year and has been working part-time with Chris. Though it’s hard for her to wrap her mind around, she is “retiring” from SMU later this year to pursue real estate full-time with her husband. “It will be hard to leave The Hilltop after this many years, but the time feels right,” said Diana. They are looking forward to working and having fun selling real estate together.

Diana and Chris have a beautiful blended family. Diana has a son, Danny, and Chris has identical twin daughters, Jen and Candace, who are both married with children. All of their kids live within a mile of them and attended Highland Park High School. The girls both swam competitively, and Danny played basketball. Diana and Chris enjoy four grandchildren – Brock and Cory Hines, who are six and four; and Jack and Laura Marie Lavelle who are two-years-old and three-months-old. They were so excited to finally get a girl in the mix! Diana and Chris already enjoy the kids’ activities and hope to do even more of that in the coming years.

Texas roots mean a lot to Diana and Chris. Chris’ family holds the oldest family reunion in the state of Texas every August– the Cunningham family reunion. The old homestead is still standing, and hundreds of people attend. Chris and Diana’s family is very active, athletic and involved. You can find them running in the neighborhood several times a week. The couple competed in and finished, the 2013 Boston Marathon (the year of the bombings). Come fall, they will be running in the Berlin Marathon. They are also regulars at the Moody Park Cities YMCA, where Diana teaches a spin class on Monday and Friday mornings and claims to have the best 70s and 80s music playlist around. Chris likes to race cars and takes his car to the track in Cresson, TX, a few times a year. They also love to travel together. Even though Chris went to UT, the rest of the family has turned him into an SMU fan. Not only did Diana attend SMU and serve as faculty there for the past 24 years, but all of their kids also graduated from SMU as well as many other family members. They are huge fans of SMU sports and frequently attend football and basketball games.

The Blackmans also spend lots of time with their very talkative Shetland Sheepdogs – Kai and Doak. Doak is named after Doak Walker, legendary SMU sports star. Other activities include Park Cities Rotary, with Chris marching in the Park Cities 4th of July Pa-rade this past summer. And the couple is proud to attend St. Michael and All Angels church, a faith community that does so much good in the Dallas area and beyond. You might catch Diana and Chris at one of their favorite hang-outs, like the bar at the Cafe Pacific and Ojeda’s on Maple, which they swear has the best Tex-Mex in the world. And each morning you’ll find the couple at the Highland Park Village Starbucks. They meet their same two friends every morning for coffee. Diana insists there is much to catch up on, even after just 24 hours! Diana grew up on Lorraine Avenue in Highland Park. Things seem to have come full circle, as she and Chris now live on Livingston Ave., just a few blocks from where Diana grew up. They have been in this home for two years and claim they will never move. Living in the neighborhood where Diana grew up, she says made it seem like home immediately. It is a wonderful 1928 Tudor-style home. They love the original features of the home including the dramatically pitched roof and original the stained-glass windows. Diana loves being in her “home neighborhood,” as it brings back thoughts of her childhood and in particular of her mom, who also grew up in the Park Cities. Having a great, friendly, safe neighborhood is important to the couple and a big part of why they love it so much. They often walk the neighborhood with Kai and Doak, whether to nearby parks or to their Starbucks. Living in Highland Park is also ideal for them because of the central location. Many evenings they get together with their neighbors for a glass of wine. Many of the neighbors also attend Diana’s spin class. She laughingly admits that many of the neighbors know them because of their crazy, barky dogs. “It’s just such a pleasure to be part of this community, to have our children and grandchildren nearby, and to have the good fortune to run into lifelong friends and neighbors as we go about our busy days,” Diana said.

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