Dietzenbachs share nearly 75 years of love

CRESCO - Valentine’s Day is sometimes a box of chocolates. Or at least that’s what is was for Urban and Lucy Dietzenbach of Cresco during the early years of their nearly 75-year marriage.
Lucy noted, “He would get a box of chocolate candy, and we shared with each other and the kids. Now we go out for supper.” She added one of his first gifts to her was a wooden cedar box full of chocolate. It turned into a jewelry box.
Valentine’s Day is not the only celebration in February for the Dietzenbachs. On the 21st, Lucy will turn 94, and one week later, on Feb.  28, Urban turns 97. The spry couple may be slowing down a bit, but they are still living on their own. They built their home, located a block from the fairgrounds, in 1991.
“I like it here better than living at an assisted living,” said Urban. “I’ve got it made. I have swollen feet and have to keep them up. And she has to exercise, so she can wait on me hand and foot,” he laughed!
Their senses of humor is just one of the things that has kept them together over the years. The couple was married on Oct. 3, 1944 at St. Lukes Church in St. Lucas, Iowa. “We were supposed to get married by 9 or 10, but there was a funeral that day. We walked out one door, while they walked in with a coffin in the other,” Lucy recalled.
After the vows, they had a dance at the farm in the machine shed. The Jack Still Band played. During the dance some of the young neighbors gave them a charivari. That is where a bunch of friends come knocking and making noise to wake the newlyweds up, or just have fun during a barn dance! Lucy said they used disk blades to clang together to make a big noise.
After they married, the couple set up house at St. Lucas for six or so years. They then moved to Cresco in 1951. They purchased “the Burgess place.” After living there for nearly 50 years, many still refer to it as the Dietzenbach place. It is now the farm of the third generation of Dietzenbachs.
Back then, the area was a slough and had lots of weeds and grass, Urban said. Lucy added, “There were lots of pheasants in there at the time. People came from Cresco to go hunting.”
Urban said he’s seen a lot of changes over the years. One of the biggest was traveling in horse and buggy to cars. Their first car was a used 1936 Ford. Then they got a 1948 red Ford pickup for $1,300. After the war, they had to put their name on a list and finally were able to get one. “Then we had three kids and had to trade it in 1950!” Urban said.
Farming and livestock raising has changed a lot as well. Urban said, “We milked cows by hand the first six years of our marriage. We milked about 12. Then they got a milking machine with a gas engine that sometimes started.” 
Lucy piped up, “I’d sometimes get 4-5 cows milked by hand before he got it going,!” When they moved to Cresco, they moved about 50 chickens, 30 cattle, some hogs and the milking equipment.
For fun, when they were younger, the couple would go to dances. Urban recalled he could get a beer, a small pack of cigarettes and a pack of gum for a quarter at the KC Hall in Ossian!
Other things have changed over the years. They both talked about how everybody took Sunday off. “Nobody worked on Sunday,” said Urban. “We usually played ball or had company.”
Lucy said family would go to their house or they would go to someone else’s home on Sunday afternoons.
It is also much more convenient to do laundry and take baths. Lucy said she had to heat the water to wash the kids and wash clothes.
For fun, Lucy has enjoyed quilting, embroidery, her flowers and sewing. Urban used to do some woodworking, making about 100 rosaries for his two first cousins, who were nuns. They gave them to missions and hospitals.
So what is the secret to a long and happy marriage? Urban said they take turns being complete idiots. To which Lucy tsked him, “A lot of times I’m right, and a lot of times you’re right,” she smiled. She also suggested not going to bed mad at each other.
But the biggest thing that keeps a marriage together is “to work together, play together and pray together,” she said. “It comes down to ‘till death do us part.’ We made a commitment to stay together, and we have.”
The couple live by their words. Things haven’t always been rosy. In 1991, Urban was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was told he’d only have five years, and he has quadrupled the doctors’ prediction. In addition, Lucy has had two heart attacks. They have also lost two sons in the past few years. Prayer gets them through those rough spots.
The couple had nine children, Duane and Richard have passed, leaving Donald (Jan) of Colorado, with the rest living close by in Cresco — Jim (Barb), Robert, Joann (Gary) Larson, Dean, Kevin and Dale. They also have 23 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren!
In conclusion, Urban gave his own words of wisdom . . . “Enjoy yourself. Live every day like it’s your last. You’re only going to die once.”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to Breaking News feed