Dirks, Esler C. and Lillie A. (Dresselhaus)

(Joann Dirks Anderson)

Esler Clarence Dirks was born in New Ulm, MN on 27 Apr 1891, the son of Conrad H. and Augusta M. (Getch) Dirks. His father was born in Lippe Detmold, Germany. His mother was born in either Michigan or Minnesota. Conrad and Augusta were married 10 Oct 1890 in New Ulm. Esler’s siblings were: Olida E., Elder H. and Augusta V.—all of whom died as children—and Eleonore (Dirks) Dittbenner (1894-1968). All except Esler are buried in the New Ulm City Cemetery. Following the death of his first wife in 1897, Conrad married Elenora Krienke on 28 Sep 1899. From this union Esler had three half-siblings: Glorene (Dirks) Sayler, Emereld F. Dirks, and Ruth Dirks.

Esler married Lillie Anna Dresselhaus. Lillie was born 22 Sep 1889 in Pleasant Twp, Winneshiek Co, IA. Her father, William (26 Aug 1865-24 Jan 1948) was also born in Pleasant Twp. Her mother, Emma Ida (Deters) Dresselhaus (26 Jan 1867-3 Jan 1949), was born in Union City Twp, Allamakee Co, IA. UN’s siblings were: Luella, Eddie, Willard, and Elmer. All were born in Pleasant Twp.

Esler and Lill were married 19 Oct 1913 at her parents’ home in Canoe Twp. They had six children: Lois, Willis, Muriel, Bette, Lily (stillborn), and Joann.

Lois was born 14 Nov 1914 in Canoe Twp. She attended schools in Winneshiek Co and graduated from Decorah High School in 1932. She graduated from Iowa State College in Ames with a degree in home economics. On 31 Dec 1939 Lois married Clair K. Fitzsimmons at her family’s home, 904 Fifth Avenue, Decorah. For many years they lived in Ames, where they had the Westinghouse dealership, plus appliance repair of radios and televisions. They retired to Lompoc, CA. Lois died 23 Jan 1991 at Santa Barbara, CA. Her ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. Her husband, Clair, survives her.

Bio Photo

Esler and Lill Dirks taken by Joann Dirks Anderson at their home: 904 Fifth Ave., Decorah, IA about 1950.

Willis "Bill" was born 11 Apr1916 at Wabasso, MN. He graduated from Decorah High School in 1934. He attended Luther College and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in business. On 22 Nov 1942 Bill married Dorothy Bunge at her family home in Rochester, MN. During high school and college, Bill helped Esler manage the Dirks Ice Co. which included harvesting and delivering ice in the Decorah area. Bill was a pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He worked in lumbering and built houses in the Denver, CO area. He later worked for Honeywell, Inc. Bill died 23 May 1994 at his home in Wheat Ridge, CO. His ashes were scattered in Cold Creek Canyon, CO. He is survived by his wife Dorothy, his two children Dianne (m. John Olson) and David (m. Kathy), five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Muriel was born  in Pleasant Twp. She graduated from Decorah High School in 1937 and from Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls in 1942 with a major in physical education. On 2 Aug 1942 she married Robert H. Lounsberry at the Decorah Methodist Church. During World War II Robert “Bob” was a pilot in the Army Air Corps. After the war Bob and Muriel “Micki” farmed his family’s farm near McCallsburg, IA in Story Co. In 1969 Bob was appointed Assistant Secretary of Agriculture of Iowa. In 1973 he was elected Iowa State Secretary of Agriculture and served until his retirement in 1987. They continue to make their home on the family farm. They had six children: William (m. Leslye-divorced), Beth (m. George-divorced) Rumph, Janet (m. Peter King), Richard (stillborn), Paul (m. Kim) and Steven (m. Linda). They have 12 grandchildren.

Bette was born in Pleasant Twp. She graduated from Decorah High School in 1940. She attended Iowa State Teachers College and Luther College majoring in elementary education. Bette taught in Fon-tanelle and Cresco, IA. On 19 Feb 1944 she married Robert E. Canny at her brother's home in San Bernardino, CA. Robert was a pilot in the Navy Air Corps. In later years they made their home in Anoka, MN. Robert worked as a chemist for Northern States Power Co. Bette taught in the Anoka school system. Bette inherited UN's artistic talent. Her family continues to enjoy the many oil paintings and wood carvings she has made. Bette and Robert now live at Park River Estates, Coon Rapids, MN. They have four daughters: Carlynn (m. Steve Ritchey), Barbara (m. Ed Treska), Suzanne (m. Accel Higueros), and Patricia (m. Mark Bass). They have five grandchildren.

Lily was stillborn on 6 May 1925. She is buried in the Canoe Methodist Church Cemetery.

Joann was born at 307 Mill Street, Decorah.  She graduated from Decorah High School in 1945. Joann attended Luther College and graduated from Iowa State Teachers College in 1949 with a degree in kindergarten/primary education. She taught in Waterloo, IA and Edina, MN. On 7 Jul 1960 she married Leon S. Anderson at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, MN. Leon is a retired postal clerk, Minneapolis Main Post Office. They reside at 5523 Girard Ave. South, Minneapolis. They have one daughter, Nancy.

Esler and Lill both attended Charles City College, where they met. The college closed after the main building burned. Esler and Lill then attended Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, IA. Lill studied art and made many oil, chalk and watercolor pictures which later graced their home. Esler

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as the birth dates of people that maybe still living was not transcribed. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

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