There is love in the water at Latham

Photo submitted
The longest married couple in Latham that I found is B.L. and Edna Dowell.

Photo submitted The longest married couple in Latham that I found is B.L. and Edna Dowell.


Ruby Hibdon



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With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, I began wondering about my neighbors and how long they have been married. After several phone calls and a couple of visits, I am certain there is love in the water in Latham. About a dozen and half couples have been married 50+ years and some with 60+. I am not saying this is an all-inclusive list and that I didn’t miss anyone, but here are my findings.

Coming in at the longest married couple in Latham that I found is B.L. and Edna Dowell. They have been married for 64 years as of Jan. 22. After a two and a half year chase, the couple married Jan. 22, 1947 in the home of Preacher J.L. Freeman, Versailles. They moved many times as B.L. worked construction. They finally settled in Latham in December 1949. Edna stayed at home milking cows, raising hogs, children and a big garden. They are very proud to be the parents of three children Wanda Wilde, David Dowell, and Belva Gerke, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. The Dowells enjoy playing cards, bowling, games (especially Aggravation) and their family and friends. Both are 87 years old, Edna being a few months older. B.L. immediately told me she has always been the boss, but he always has the last words and they are “yes mam!” When I asked Edna what was the best Valentine’s gift she ever received from B.L. I was told of a wooden box that contained candy that he gave her before they were married, she still has that very box, but they did eat the candy.

In second place, I believe Bill and Imogene Martensen have been married the next longest by 10 days. The couple was married at Mt. Olive Church, Florence, on May 16, 1953. They have stayed in the Florence, California, Latham area most of their married lives. Both attended college in Bolivar. Bill spent 42 years as a bi-vocational pastor and Imogene a nurse receiving her nursing degree after their youngest left home. Bill also taught school, managed small agricultural businesses all the while raising hogs, chickens and cattle for himself. Bill retired from the pulpit in the late 90s from Fortuna Baptist Church of which he was the pastor for two different terms. The Martensens have four children Marcia Azan, Marcella Schuffman, Rick Martense and Rex Martensen, 11 living grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. One grandson Waylon Martensen has passed away. Bill said they have always enjoyed the Valentine’s celebrations, but Imogene said the best gift she ever received was her engagement and wedding rings. When I asked Imogene if Bill is a good husband, she said with an enduring smile “the best!”

Coming in third place are Willard and Wilma Meloy as the next longest married couple in Latham. They were married May 26, 1953 at a preacher’s home in Poplar Bluff at noon. The preacher’s wife came in at the conclusion of the ceremony and offered them a Pepsi and something to eat. Wilma then went on to work at 4. She was a waitress at a filling station and restaurant in Greenville. Willard also worked part-time there as needed. Willard went into the army and was in Germany shortly after the wedding and was gone for two years. Upon returning home the couple picked up a real estate booklet and began looking at random farms throughout Missouri. They bought their farm in Latham in 1955 and moved from St. Louis to Latham in 1959. Wilma sure did giggle when she told of Willard telling his mother the news of buying a farm in California and her thinking it was the state of California and having a fit that they would be moving so far away. He had to quickly settle her down and explain it was California, Missouri. The Meloy’s family includes five children Roy Meloy, Linda McArthur, Wanda Cassil, Paul Meloy and Marianne Zehnle, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Willard told that their moving to Latham really helped the population because after they moved here, three other couples followed. One couple is Walter and Mary Gilbreath. Mary and Wilma worked together waitressing. Lindell and Betty Street were another couple. Betty and Wilma are sisters. Then Lindell’s parents moved to Latham as well.

I also want to mention the other couples I found with several years of marital bliss under their belts.

Lindell and Betty Street, 57 years; Leo and Jean Rogers, 60 years; Dean and Rosalee Irey, 59 years; Bob and Marilyn Schatzer, 60 years; Bill and Norma Blankenship, 56 years;

Jack & Judy Allee, 52 years; Kenneth & Marianne Medlin, 52 years; Charlie and Mary McGinnis, 51 years; Art and Carol Williams, 49 years; Enos and Lydia Sauder, 58 years;

David and Mary Ann Newswanger, 58; Menno and Lois Rissler, 59 years; Jim and Lorene Idlewine, 59 years; Shannon and Miriam Zimmerman, 46 years; Walter and Mary Gilbreath, 58 years, Mary told that their son Wayne was born almost to the exact hour one year later on their first anniversary.

If I inadvertently left your name off this list, know that I did not mean to and I wish you the very Happiest of Valentine’s Days and many, many more. And to my sweetheart Ike, Happy Valentine’s Day and I love you.

Latham School had a broken water line Monday, Feb. 3. A new student, Teddy Vasser, enrolled. He is in the third grade. Angie Shane and Jeannie Imhoff were sick and absent from school this past week. Of course school was cancelled Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday due to the snow. Principal Tanya Brown worked diligently Friday reworking the calendar. This caused the postponing of the Awards Assembly until Feb. 11. School will now be in session on President’s Day for one of the make-up days. The ballgame with Clarksburg has not been rescheduled and neither has the trip to High Point for the “Dome”. School was again called off Monday because of bad roads after Sunday's snowfall.

The students seemed to be split in thinking whether it was to cold or not to play in the snow. The ones that did said it was not good for building anything. Besides the usual snow day activities such as playing in the snow, playing video games, sleeping and reading, some of the students did extra things. Ike Meloy got his driver’s permit. Garrett Latham spent the night with his grandparents Richard and Nancy Schatzer. Ashley, Derek and Nick Bolinger went farming with their father because their mother was snowed in, in Jefferson City and had to spend the night there. Austin Bonecutter spent the night with his grandmother Carrie Bonecutter and he and his family James, Crystal and Dustin attended the antler scoring at the California Shooter’s Club. Laila Gilpin and her family made snow ice cream. Carly Messerli stayed with her grandmother Karen Messerli and cousins Hannah, Emmett and Myra Haas. Cammi Muzy and her parents played games with Rebecca and Terri Bohrer and family. The Bohrers also went bowling. Tucker Bieri set coyote traps. Weston Liebl and Kutter Baumgartner got together and made a catapult. Bethany Stuedle spent the night with Madison Ratcliff.

Walking home from school last Monday on Lick Fork Road, the children found a cell phone that had been run over by a vehicle. It has an orange case. If you have lost yours, even though it is not usable, you don’t have to look anymore.

This week in honor of the Olympics the students will be wearing a special color each day Tuesday-yellow, Wednesday-green, Thursday-blue and Friday-black.

In upcoming events, the regular monthly meeting of the Latham School Board will be Monday, Feb. 17. The Red Cross Blood Drive will be Feb. 18, at the school.

Rosalee Irey literally shopped till she dropped last Monday in Jefferson City. Her hip that she has had replaced went out on her and she had to be taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Health Center and have it put back-in.

Peggy Kugler, Tipton, was crowned Bunco Queen Monday evening. Eight ladies were able to make it to the school after all the rescheduling, Julia Potter, Roberta Gunnerson, Kugler, Torrey Geiger, Vicki Watkins, Wanda Wilde, Ruby Hibdon, and Shanay Stuedle. The ladies shared snacks before the dice rolled.

Troy, Leo, Jerry and Waylon Potter attended the Wild Game Supper at Concord Baptist in Jefferson City. Troy and Leo also played cards this past week with neighbors B.L. and Edna Dowell.

Katie McGinnis, Madysen Brown and Emma Batye were overnight guests of Charlie and Mary McGinnis.

Jim and Jan Irey went to Herman for a few days. They stayed at a bed and breakfast, the Inn at Hermannhof. They toured wineries and stopped at Crane’s in Williamsburg on the trip home.

Friday evening volleyball did not have much of a crowd.

Jerry Fulks played cards Friday evening at the home of Donna Branch, Tipton.

My sister, Edith Drinkall, stopped by and picked me up Saturday morning for a run to Versailles. We ran into Terry and Donna Hamilton at Walmart.

Jeremy, Rachel and Morgan Cole had dinner Saturday evening with Walter and Mary Gilbreath.

Jack Allee, David Miller and Tony Coons were recognized at the Latham Christian Church for having birthdays. Pastor Jim Randall gave the message. The Pilot Grove Baptist Church had 18 for Sunday school and 22 for church. Everyone shared a carry-in dinner after worship service. Brother Gene Hodges brought the message. Tuesday, Feb. 18, will be business meeting at 7 p.m.

It is reported that Green Grove Baptist, Pilot Grove Baptist and Latham Christian all have plenty of seating available if you are looking for a church home in the area.

After church my family went to eat in Versailles at the Mexican restaurant and in came Charlie and Mary McGinnis. That’s right, just the two of them. I bet few can say they see them out very often without at least one of their many children!

Sunday dinner guests of Bill and Norma Blankenship were Ross and Will Blankenship, Kim and Roberta Spieler, Jake Buschjost and Cleveland Keeling. Katie Buschjost had to leave earlier for Springfield due to bad weather. Dan Buschjost was visiting his father, Paul Buschjost. Joanne Blankenship left Thursday for New York for a visit with her parents for a few days.


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