Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018
Golden Years

Dimmitts celebrate 75 years of matrimony

By Vicki Tillis, Ledger lifestyles editor | Sep 14, 2018
Source: PHOTO SUBMITTED Erma and Glen “Bud” Dimmitt of Fairfield have been married 75 years. They say the key to a long, successful marriage is not to fight. with each other.

Glen “Bud” and Erma Dimmitt of Fairfield celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary Aug. 28.

So, with 40 to 50 percent of all marriages in the United States ending in divorce, to what do the Dimmitts attribute their long marriage?

“No fighting,” Bud quickly answers.

“Never fighting and good, clean living,” adds Erma, who said she’d advise a couple to always be true to one another and not fight.

Bud, who will turn 96 later this month, has always lived in Fairfield. He started working in the bowling alley when he was in the seventh or eighth grade. The bowling alley was on the upper floor of Ross G. Walker’s store at the corner of Briggs and Main — the Tribune Printing Company building that collapsed in July 2014. Bud’s job was to “set the pins” — which meant he set the pins back into place by hand after every roll.

Bud also worked at the Fairfield Golf & Country Club as a caddie master. He would caddie golf clubs and take care of the clubs and equipment for the golf pros.

From there, Bud began working at the Cromer Oil Station where he would provide full service to those stopping to refuel. He remembers it was the start of World War II and he was let go so that an Air Force veteran could take his place; the boss wouldn’t have to worry about the veteran being drafted into military service again, he explained.

Bud moved to the Conoco Oil Station, but was soon advised to “get out of here because there might not be gas to sell … go to Louden’s.”

And he did. From 1941 until he retired in 1984, Bud “did a little bit of everything” at Louden Machinery Company. Erma explained the company manufactured equipment for barns, then, as World War II progressed, Louden made parts for planes for the War Department. Bud’s first job at the plant was to take parts off the paint line down to the shipping room. Later, he moved to the shipping room, then to the receiving department.

“Everything that went through that factory went through me,” Bud recalled.

“I had a good time at Louden’s,” he continued. “I kept advancing.”

In fact, Bud had become a supervisor by the time he retired in 1984.

While working at Louden, Bud became a volunteer for the Fairfield Fire Department. If an alarm sounded while he was at the factory, he got permission to respond to the fire, and still got paid by Louden.

Bud stayed with the fire department for 30 years, retiring as assistant fire chief in 1982.

During those 30 years, he saw quite a few changes. The department had nine members when he joined; today, it has nearly 20. He also saw the department move from the old fire station at 51 S. Second St., where it had been for nearly a century to its current location on the corner of West Briggs Avenue and North Second Street, in 1973. Plus, “fire trucks have gotten bigger,” he added.

Bud recalled several fires, but the Turner Hotel fire on Dec. 27, 1967, loomed in his memory as “a big one.”

“I was just getting ready to leave work, and I was tired when the alarm came in,” Bud said.

The Turner Hotel was on the northwest corner of West Briggs Avenue and Main, where the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center is today. At the time of the fire, it was known as the Turner House and was owned by Parsons College. The college had used it as a dormitory. Even with mutual aid from the Keosauqua and Mt. Pleasant fire departments, Fire Chief Charles Allison’s crew couldn’t save the old building.

“It was two days before we got it cleaned up,” said Bud.

“He came home covered with ice, looking like an icicle,” said Erma. “It was zero degrees, and with all that cold water coming back on them …”

Being a volunteer firefighter also came with good times, like Thanksgiving dinners at the fire station, although the dinners did not always go smoothly.

“One year, the women had cooked and just as everything was ready to eat, the fire alarm sounded,” recalled Erma. “We wrapped everything up and put it back in the oven and waited until they came back.”

“Scott keeps up with us,” said Bud, referring to Scott Vaughan, current chief of the Fairfield Fire Department.

“He comes out every so often,” said Erma. “He’s been very good to us … the whole department has been very good to us.”

Erma, who was born in Lee County, has lived in Fairfield since her marriage. She was a stay-at-home mother, but she said she did work a Christmas or two at Woolworths on the Fairfield square.

Later, when oldest daughter Sheryl was in college and youngest daughter Brenda was graduating from high school, “I thought ‘I’ll just go to work for a while,’” said Erma. She worked in the Parsons College housekeeping department for seven years. “Parsons had started to close then,” she recalled.

Erma’s duties took her into the boys’ dormitories, which she found were kept pretty tidy by the young male students.

“I enjoyed working there in the boys’ dorms,” she said.

In her spare time, Erma created oil paintings, but she gave it up when Bud’s woodworking and carving hobby kicked into high gear and she began painting all the rocking horses, rocking cows, planes, trains, trucks, dollhouses, barns, wagons filled with blocks, and all the other toys he created.

“Our kids never had to worry about having something to play with,” said Bud.

The Dimmitts have two daughters, Brenda Knaak, with husband Phil, in Oscoda, Michigan, and Sheryl Gann, who was killed in a tragic car accident on her way to her teaching job in Prairie Home, Missouri, in 2010. They also have four grandchildren, two stepgrandchildren, six great-grandchildren and six great-stepchildren.

Bud also created a television stand from a walnut tree that had grown in their family’s yard, lamp stands, quilt racks, a cradle for their first grandchild, and more.

Erma said once Bud had made so many crafts that they couldn’t find anyone else to give them to, they would sell them. Once they loaded up and went all the way to Texas, where Bud’s sister lived, to sell their items.

The Dimmitts also enjoyed camping.

“We started out in a tent, then a fold-down camper and then a self-contained one,” said Erma.

“We were in Colorado on vacation when we bought that tent, in 1967 or so,” said Bud.

The couple traveled to many destinations with their camper, even towing it all the way to California, but their favorite place to go was Branson, Missouri.

“We went to Branson several times with the camper, but we haven’t been there in years,” said Erma.

In their later years of camping, they mostly stayed at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park. “You meet so many people, and the park caretakers would have big bonfires and sing; it was fun,” recalled Erma. “We camped a good many years with our friends Sam and Jean Harrison. We’d take our vacations at the same time.”

The Dimmitts gave up camping about four years ago after it became too much for them to handle. They also gave up the family home where they had lived since 1948 and moved to SunnyBrook Assisted Living Center.

“Nothing is like home, but we like it,” said Erma. “We brought our own furniture, so it seems more like home. It can make you lazy though; they clean, do your laundry, feed you. … We’ve been very fortunate.”

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