662111 -- John Zolman & Dortha Smira
Knox County Citizen (Fredericktown OH) of 16-Nov-2000 p.1
Zolmans to mark 60th anniversary
by Randy Grimm
John and Dortha Zolman of 52 Gifford Street in Fredericktown will celebrate sixty years of marriage on November 24th.
Six decades of wedded bliss did no begin very promisingly. John, who was originally from the North Woodbury area in Morrow County, met his future bride at the family reunion of his friend Ray Kunkle.
"I was driving a 1934 Studebaker Presidential 8. It was as long as this room."
John recalls, gesturing around the kitchen, "with swooping fenders and doors that opened the wrong way.
It was a fabulous car."
Dortha wanted to ride in it and John refused.
"She got mad and threw my keys away." laughs John.
"Into the field," adds Dortha.
The couple slipped off to Vanceburg, KY, to be married and kept it a secret for three weeks.
Due to a mixup in the military draft (married men weren't being called up at that time), John was enrolled in the military as an artilleryman and transferred to the Pacific coast.
Dortha went with him, staying on the Washington side of the Columbia River while John manned a gun in one of the forts at the mouth of the river on the Oregon side.
The couple was, therefore, present at an historic event in American history: the only time in the 20th century that enemy shells fell on the continental United States.
A Japanese submarine was cruising the shoreline, firing blindly and trying to hit the forts.
"I was staying in a house with the wife of another officer," remembers Dortha,
who, as a gunner's wife, recognized the distinctive sounds of shelling.
"She wanted to turn on the light to see what was going on, but I stopped her in a hurry.
I didn't want to be the only target in the area!"
After spending four years and eight months in the army, John mustered out and returned home.
As a master mechanic, he worked for four Ford dealerships in Mount Vernon.
He had his own garage for thirteen years which was also the home of the school bus garage for seven years.
"For three years running we had the best inspection results ever," John proudly recalls.
After that John worked twelve years for Kokosing Construction, retiring as a master mechanic.
Dortha worked as a cook at the Fredericktown Junior High for 14 years, retiring in 1981.
"It was hard work, but I surely loved dealing with the kids," she says.
John and Dortha will celebrate their anniversary with a country music extravaganza in Missouri.
Their children, daughters Janice Bogner and Julie Jones, and son Larry Zolman, have arranged the trip which comes complete with bus transportation, lodging, and admission to several shows.
Prescription for sixty years of marriage?
"We've always been able to adjust to each other," says Dortha.
"We enjoy each other's company and doing the same things.
We've discussed everything, but our kids will tell you that there was never shouting,
name-calling, or fighting."
The couple would love to receive cards.
The Descendants of Adam Zolman/Zollman
11/26/00 - SAH