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Friday, May 6, 2016

Couple shares 70-year romance

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bill and Evelyn Pease
The simple act of sharing a life together provides inspiration to new generations. No area couple does that better than Bill and Evelyn Pease of Cherokee.

The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Feb. 10. They speak of the challenges they shared in their youth that formed an eternal bond.

They reached adulthood during the Great Depression, living on neighboring farms in the Grand Meadow area west of Washta.

"We appreciated things so much more," Evelyn said.

"We didn't have much, but back then everybody was in the same boat," Bill said.

Besides working on the family farm and attending school, Bill worked with a crew hauling bundles of oats to a thresher starting in the 9th grade. That first year, he earned $16 for 16 days of work.

Evelyn earned $3.75 for a week of work as a servant for a family.

The year after high school, a crop failure forced Bill to go to work a year in California where his uncle grew oranges.

After he returned to Iowa, Bill bought a farm about a mile from where he grew up for $75 an acre. He and Evelyn married and they lived on the farm for the next 60 years. At first, the farm was 80 acres owned by the couple with another 80 acres leased.

"A lot has changed in farming since then," Bill said.

His first year, he plowed using horses but then bought a small tractor.

He grew corn, oats, and later soybeans, as well as hogs and dairy cattle. Flax and sorghum were a couple of ventures that didn't work out and remained unrepeated experiments.

Bill also drove a school bus for a number of years, first for the Grand Meadow School District and then for the Marcus School District after the two districts merged.

Evelyn worked full-time as a homemaker, finding that raising four children and all the other activities associated with being a farm wife were enough to keep her quite busy.

Their children are Mary Lou Hanson of Omaha, Neb. who works as a bank secretary, Diana Herbold of Sioux City who works at Western Iowa Tech, James Pease of Virginia who teaches at Virginia Tech, and Carol Rutter, now deceased, who taught in a public school.

Bill and Evelyn have seven grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

After the children left home, the couple did a good deal of traveling. Bill enjoys fishing and Evelyn is a member of a quilting group.

Seven years ago, Bill and Evelyn, who had lived their entire lives in the country, moved to Cherokee where they now have an apartment.

"It was quite an adjustment for both of us but I haven't regretted it for a minute," Evelyn said.

They regularly attend Congregate Meals where they socialize with other seniors.

Bill and Evelyn are, of course, not as active as they once were but they appreciate what they have shared for 70 years and what they still have together.

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