Married seventy-three years and counting

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Iris and Robert "Bob" Dohse of Clayton celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on Jan. 28, 2023. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

In honor of Valentine's Day The Guttenberg Press would like to share the story of a love that lasts.

Iris and Robert "Bob" Dohse met over 73 years ago at the McGregor Hotel Restaurant owned by Bob's mother. Iris had her own beauty shop in the hotel complex and admired her future husband while she watched him peel potatoes. 

How we met

"Bob was helping his mom at the restaurant peeling potatoes and I was watching him," Iris began. "He offered me a knife to help him and I did because my customer was under the dryer. That's how we met. We dated quite a while – maybe six months.  We mostly went to movies. Bob doesn't like to dance."

Iris grew up in Clayton and graduated from high school in Monona, and Pitze's Beauty School in Waterloo. "My sister's husband was in the service at the time and she was expecting another baby, so I went and stayed with her and went to school in Monona," she explained. "Bob grew up in McGregor and graduated from McGregor High School." 

The young couple was married in Millville on Jan. 28, 1950. The ceremony took place at the home of Miss Edith Schrunk, who was justice of the peace at the time. 

The following excerpt is from the Feb. 2, 1950 Garnavillo Tribune, a department of The Guttenberg Press. 

The bride wore a floor length gown of white satin with a long train. The gown was fashioned with a sweetheart neckline and had buttons to the waistline in back. Long sleeves came to points over her wrists. Her veil was of white illusion net trimmed with rows of satin ribbon and the crown was set with rhinestones and pearls. She carried a bouquet of yellow jonquils and white carnations. "It was a simple wedding. My sister and her husband stood up for us. Then we had a little party at the tavern at Millville – the one that burned down," she remembered. 

The newlyweds made their home in McGregor. "Bob was a plumber and worked for Kenny Woerm and I had the beauty shop," she told The Press. "We had three children, Kevin, Mark and Linda. Mark and Linda have passed away. I always had a big garden and was brought up old fashioned. I canned vegetables and fruits and made jams and jellies. There was always something to do. Bob was Mr. Handyman. When anybody needed something fixed they knew who to call. I also crocheted an awful lot." 

The couple enjoyed traveling. "Bob got a job with Farm Bureau Insurance. We got to do some traveling because he won a lot of trips," she shared. "We took a vacation every year and had a lot of fun!" 

Iris and Bob are proud of their children. "Mark attended college at Cockrell College in New Mexico and studied mining and technology. He worked in the oil industry and traveled all over looking for oil wells. Linda was everybody's neighbor and was a good working gal, and Kevin is a very talented musician. He can play just about any instrument there is," she said with pride. 

The couple would eventually purchase the restaurant that is now the Clayton Lighthouse. "One day Bob came home from work and said 'We need to look at this building.' We bought the restaurant and added the back dining room and upstairs bar. We ran it for 10 years. I developed health problems and we sold it," she recalled. 

The couple would eventually get back into the restaurant business. "Later on we purchased a tavern in Lynxville and added a restaurant. We ran that for 10 years before we sold it. I guess I was a good cook – or so they tell me any ways," she laughed. 

The secret to Bob and Iris' marital bliss: "Fight when you have to fight and then forget what you fought about," she said with a smile.

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