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Everyday is Valentine's Day for Cutest Couple

All proceeds from the contest were donated to Someplace Safe in Alexandria.

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Phyllis and Orville Ackerman of Alexandria were this year's first place winners in the Cutest Couple photo contest.
Contributed photo
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Valentine’s Day may be over, but love is still in the air for the winners of the Cutest Couple photo contest.

There were 31 couples in this year’s contest, which was sponsored for the fourth year in a row by the Echo Press, Elden’s Fresh Foods and Willy T’s Tavern.

First place winners Orville and Phyllis Ackerman of Alexandria garnered 2,220 votes, raising $555 for Someplace Safe. Second place winners Kermit and Elnora Hohnwaldt of Alexandria received 1,200 votes, raising $300.

The contest took in $1,877.50, which was donated to Someplace Safe of Douglas County.

72 years of marriage

Orville, 98, and Phyllis, 91, were married on June 5, 1949. They were blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. The couple live in Alexandria at Nelson Gables.

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They met when Orville worked at a farm across the road from where Phyllis lived. The story shared with the newspaper by their daughter, Deb Loken, is that Orville saw Phyllis getting the mail one day and he thought she was beautiful.

Not too long after that, he saw her again at the town cafe. Orville asked Phyllis to the county fair and she said yes.

“The next day they went to the fair and the rest is history!” Loken said.

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Phyllis and Orville Ackerman of Alexandria were married on June 5, 1949. They have been married for 72 years.
Contributed photo

When asked what a typical Valentine’s Day is for the couple, Loken shared that her parents said that everyday is Valentine's Day. They also shared a favorite Bible verse – “Do everything in love,” – 1 Corinthians 16:14.

The couple also shared some advice for those who are newly married: Kiss and hug each other often. Keep the Lord as the center of your lives and pray together daily.

66 years of marriage

Kermit, 86, and Elnora, 87, were married on Sept. 4, 1955. According to their daughter, Darla Hildebrandt, they met at Tiger Town in Miltona, which was a place they used to go to and dance.

Hildebrandt said her dad kept asking her mom to dance and eventually she said yes.

After they were married, the Hohnwaldts had a dairy farm in Leaf Valley Township where they raised their five children. They now have 10 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

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Elnora and Kermit Hohnwaldt of Alexandria were married on Sept. 4, 1955. They have been married for 66 years.
Contributed photo

When asked what a typical Valentine’s Day looked like for the couple, Hildebrandt said her dad would bring flowers home for mom as he worked in town and her mom “pretty much ran the dairy farm they lived on.”

Before they had children, they would love to go out to eat at Lakeside or Inspiration Peak and then find the nearest place where they could spend the evening dancing as they loved to dance together.

They spent lots of time dancing at Tiger Town in Miltona, said their daughter, as well as the Clarissa Ballroom.

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The second place winners of the Cutest Couple photo contest are Elnora and Kermit Hohnwaldt of Alexandria.
Contributed photo

Their advice for newly married couples: Newlyweds should be reminded to do things together, always have at least one meal together as a family and never go to bed angry.

Elnora said she wanted to thank all who nominated and then voted for her and Kermit.

“We were so honored to learn that we were winners in the contest,” she said.

Related Topics: ECHO PRESSALEXANDRIAPEOPLE
Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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