S: A Dimond for a Courter
FC: A Dimond for a Courter
1: In the summer of 1940, Dan Courter asked Robert Dimond for the hand of his daughter, Ortha, in marriage. Since that day, the family smiled when he talked about the great deal he got: "A Dimond for a Courter." It worked out wonderfully for all concerned. Together they created an enviable marriage, a good life and a close family. This is their story.
2: At left is Julian William (J.W.) Dimond, Nora Dimond, and daughter Edith Howell at the homestead in Hawkeye Township, Alton, KS. J.W. and Mary Agnes Elnora Conn are shown bottom left. Charles Robert and Minnie Emma (Conrad) Dimond are shown below right and top right. Bottom center, and bottom left next page, are Ernest and Alda Courter. At bottom is Dan's family: Top row from left, Naomi, Paul, Ernest; front row: Daniel, Claudius, Ruth, Alda, Lois, James and Aaron.
4: Daniel Emmons Courter, born in Downs, KS, August 11, 1919, is shown in his high school senior picture and involved in his favorite part of high school. When Dan finally | talked his dad into letting him play basketball in his junior year, he excelled even though he had never played before. His tiny school qualified for the state tournament his senior year, losing in a triple overtime. Though college was not a financial possibility, the experience created a life-long love of sports.
5: Ortha Mary Dimond, born December 4, 1921, is shown in her senior picture (left), and with a high school friend in 1937, when she was 16. Dan and Ortha's love of music began early, playing instruments in high school. Dan played the sousaphone, Ortha the clarinet.
6: Dan and his best friend, brother Claudius (known to everyone as Cookie), built a trailer house from scratch and traveled around the country doing harvest work. On one of those harvest jobs, he met a lovely young woman working for the farm owner. After just a few dates, he left for an out-of-state job, but when he returned a few months later, he asked her to marry him. Throughout his life he wondered aloud why
7: she said yes. He had no money and no permanent job. But she did say yes, and they were married on September 8, 1940, with Dan's brother Aaron and Ortha's sister Irene attending.
8: After the wedding, Dan and Ortha moved into their first home in, yes, Paradise........Kansas. Parents and other relatives donated a motor here, a chasis there, used tires and various other parts, and Dan built them a car.
9: After several moves between Colorado and Kansas, they settled in Grand Junction, CO. Dan and Ortha are shown sharing a life-long love of Grand Mesa with Charlotte Lee; proudly showing off baby Carolyn Joyce and Charlotte; and posing in 1946, when the family now included Dana Jeane.
13: The first formal portrait of "the Courter girls," (top right); a 1950 Christmas family portrait; and the family in the summer of 1954, on their biannual trip to visit family in Kansas.
14: The high school senior pictures of (clockwise from left) Charlotte, 1959; Carolyn, 1960, and Dana, 1963.
15: Family-first was the motto of Dan and Ortha. They are shown celebrating Grandma Ena's 90th birthday with Charlotte and her husband Chuck. Dana, and Carolyn and her husband Marcus. Ena is also shown in a multi-generational portrait with Ortha, Carolyn, her daughter Christine, and her children Matthew, Jennifer and Melissa. Cookie and Nelda were always a part of family celebrations.
16: Clockwise from left: Grandpa and Grandma (Ena) Dimond; Ortha with brothers and sisters Marvin, Myrna, Clifton, Lois, and Minnie; a multi-generational picture of Grandma Dimond, Ortha, Carolyn Michelle, and Zachary; and Dan with brothers Aaron, James and Cookie, and sisters Lois, Ruth and Naomi.
17: Above: Dan, Dana and Brett join in a four-generational birthday photo with Grandma Courter, and Cookie, Aaron, James and Dan celebrate with their sister Lois. Below, the Courter Family window shines in the Downs, KS, Methodist Church (founded by a Courter); and a portrait of Dan's family, including Aaron, Paul and his wife, Dan and Ortha, Cookie and Nelda, James, and (front row) Ruth, Lois, Ernest, Alda, and Naomi.
18: At the heart of the family orientation was the life-long closeness of Dan and Cookie. They performed, worshiped, and played together. The two families shared Sunday dinners, holidays, exploring Grand Mesa and the National Monument, annual trips to the hot pools of Ouray and searches for the perfect Christmas tree.
19: The families were close, bu
20: The families were close, but the brothers were inseparable. Dan once said he couldn't remember ever having an argument with Cookie. Ever. They played together, hunted, fished, helped one another build houses, and worked for the same power company. They especially loved to join Dan's bass and Cookie's tenor voice in duets. Like their relationship, there was natural harmony.
21: "Dan the Meter Man" worked for Public Service of Colorado for 37 years. He started shoveling coal at the power plant, moved to the meter department, served a number of years as a union negotiator, and retired as a supervisor. Ortha worked nearly as many years for a small grocery and meat market.
22: While they always worked hard, Dan and Ortha also made time for fun. They enjoyed many years of bowling leagues with Cookie and Nelda, including local and state tournaments. As they had more free time, they took up golf, which soon eclipsed most other interests.
23: Eventually, golf became a true passion. The Courters were active members of golf clubs in Grand Junction, CO, and Florence, AZ, and enjoyed a myriad of courses during travels across the U.S. in their fifth wheel. With a truly beautiful swing, Ortha was club champion everywhere she went, they were tough to beat in team events and both enjoyed multiple holes-in-one. | For many years, Dan and Ortha spent the winters in Arizona, and the summers in Grand Junction. When the annual moves became more difficult, they chose Arizona as their permanent home. The people, more than the place, made the difference.
24: Free time was spent having fun, usually outdoors, with one another or the family. These were taken at the National Monument (that's Cookie "holding up" the giant boulder). | Dan is shown above on the beach during a California vacation with the family in late 1950s.
25: Retirement didn't slow this couple down! They joined in nearly every area activity, from golf to arts & crafts, to musicals (in costume at right) and enjoyed Caliente Rallies (bottom right). | The fun couple is shown above at Arizona City, AZ, where they played a round with Annika Sorenstam (who, at the time, was playing for the University of Arizona).
26: The up-for-anything couple is shown ready for trick or treat; in front of a Mayflower replica in Boston; on their way to visit grandchildren and great grandchildren in Idaho; sailing with Carolyn and Marcus in San Diego; and arriving in Honolulu.
27: An abiding faith and a deep commitment to the church added to the closeness this couple shared. They spent decades in the choir and as active members of the First Methodist Church of Grand Junction, CO. They were also devoted members of Spirit of Joy Methodist Church in Coolidge, AZ. They sang in its choir, mentored young people, and--even late into their 80s--were the first to volunteer for whatever needed to be done.
28: The Courter homes: Paradise, Kansas; the first family home in Grand Junction, CO; the first (rented) house on F Road; the family home that Dan built after work and on weekends; and the "house in town."
29: The first retirement home: a fifth wheel that was home as Dan and Ortha saw the USA--traveling off the interstates and guided largely by the location of the next golf course. | The Courter "winter home" in Caliente, just outside of Florence, AZ. | The "summer home" in northeastern Grand Junction, CO. | The year-round home on North Dakota in Florence Gardens, AZ.
30: The Courter family through the years: (clockwise from left): Celebrating a surprise 25th Anniversary party; together for Christmas in 1976; a group visit to Grand Junction; dad and "his girls"; a survey of '60s hairstyles, and the sisters in one of many silly moments.
31: A family that plays together, stays together--though Dana is still looking for signs that Ortha's genes have passed on that beautiful, natural swing. The Caliente Spring Fling was a family favorite--this one in 1987.
32: First, there were grandkids: Above, Sheri, Michael, Christine, Daric, Brett and Michelle. About five years later, the group is shown again at Grandpa and Grandma Courter's house. At left, celebrating the Courter 50th Wedding Anniversary: Michelle and baby Zachary, Sheri, Brett, Dan, Ortha, Michael, Christine with Melissa, and Daric.
33: Dan and Ortha are shown with grandsons Michael and Daric in two pictures; Dan, Dana, and Brett represent three generations of golfers; and Ortha and Dan are shown with Carolyn and granddaughters Christine, Michelle and Sheri during their last trip to visit them in Idaho.
34: Great grandchildren then joined the family. Clockwise: Christine's daughter Jillian,and Michelle's daughter Bridget; Christine's daughters and son (from left) Melissa, Jennifer and Matthew, and Michelle's son Zachary; Great Grandpa with Melissa, and with Melissa and baby sister Jillian.
35: Three generations are shown left: Ortha, Carolyn, Sheri, and Allison. Sheri's son Brett sits on Great Grandma's lap, bottom left. | Taking a a spin in Great Grandma's golf cart was always a favorite activity.
36: As families grew (and grew up), they became more dispersed, but the family bonds remain strong. Dan and Ortha and their daughters, with their husbands, gather for dinner with Carolyn's grandson Matthew, his wife Teesha, and Marcus' daughter Debi. Carolyn's extended family gather for a photo op in the center picture. Her children and grandchildren pose at bottom left, and in the bottom photo, which includes Dan and Ortha's great-great grandchildren Kaylee and Hannah.
37: The extended family, in Grand Junction to celebrate Dan's 80th birthday, enjoyed a picnic on the National Monument. Back row: Christine Bracken-Begley and Kenny Bracken, Michelle, Charlotte's husband Chuck, Sheri's husband Kenny Mitchell, Ortha, Charlotte, Marcus, Dan, Debi's son Dayna, Melissa, Carolyn, Sheri, and Debi's son David. Middle row: Michelle's husband Stan Castro, her son Zachary and Sheri's son Brett, Charlotte's son Michael and his wife Lauren, Dana, Debi, Sheri's daughter Allison, Michelle's daughter Bridget, Christine's daughter Jillian, and her son Matthew. Front row: Daric and Christine's daughter Jennifer.
38: More great grandkids joined the family tree from Charlotte's side. Michael is shown with his wife and Katrina; Daric's daughters Chloe and Josephine (Josi) with Katrina; Daric with a sleeping baby angel; and Grandma Charlotte "relaxes" with her granddaughters in a hammock.
39: Dana is shown with grandson Jacob, upper left; Brett enjoys the water and a hike with son Bodhi; and four generations gather for Dana and Joe Zesbaugh's wedding.
40: Dan and Ortha celebrated a happy year of marriage 70 times. Above: Their wedding day, their Silver Anniversary and their Golden Anniversary.
41: Upper left, reaching the thirty-year mark; above, a happy couple celebrates their 40th anniversary; and bottom left, the family gathered with the extended family as Dan and Ortha repeated their vows and celebrated 50 years together.
42: This is a true love story. For 70 years, this couple loved, respected, and enjoyed one another. While there may have been disappointments or hurt feelings, there was no yelling, no grandstanding, no using one family member against the other.
43: Throughout those 70 years, there was lots of praying together, fun and laughter, hand holding--and always, lots of kisses.
44: Dan and Ortha celebrated their 60th anniversary with the family in San Diego (above left) and back home in Arizona (above right). For their 65th, they joined their daughters and husbands for an Alaskan cruise, celebrating the big night on board with dinner and dancing.
45: They kept their promise to "love, comfort, honor, and keep each other in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live." They kept it through Dan's polio, cancer, and Parkinson's; through increasing age; and through Ortha's brain bleeds and failing health. To celebrate their 70th anniversary, Dan sang "I Love You Truly" to Ortha, and as she managed a little dance, the light came back in her eyes.
46: Even in her last difficult days, Ortha brightened with Dan's kiss. Dan indeed got a Dimond for a "Courter," and it was a great deal for all involved. Together, they created a strong family, and a happy, productive life--one with few regrets. Just like the fairy tale, they fell in love, got married, and lived happily ever after.