and Lill farmed in their early years. In 1928 they bought their home at 904 Fifth Avenue and the ice company from the Tavener family. Esler worked as a postal clerk in the Decorah Post Office until he retired in 1955. They also owned and operated the Dirks Ice Co., which supplied ice to the residents and businesses of Decorah until 1944. Both Esler and Lill were active in the Decorah Methodist Church. After retiring, they moved to Ames, IA and later to a tenant home on the Lounsberry farm. Esler died 12 Sep 1962 at Mount Pleasant, IA. Lill died 28 Sep 1964 at Decorah while visiting her brothers. Esler and Lill are buried in the Canoe Methodist Church Cemetery.

At the post office, Esler was known as the stamp window clerk who could count out 20 postcards by fanning them near his ear. According to Sister Rosemary Jewell, when she was a child, Mr. Dirks never turned her down when she had raffle tickets to sell for her school—even when it was something he probably did not want to win!

Both Esler and Lill were kind, devoted parents. Lill told one of her daughters that in their early married years, her day always started with the “Three B’s.....Breakfast, Bread and Baby.....not always in that order!”

Dobrodinsky, Adalbert “Albert” and Antonia (Konrad)

(Marie Riha)

Adalbert 'Albert” Dobrodinsky was born in Kumzak, Bohemia on 23 Apr 1839. Antonia (Konrad) Dobrodinsky was born Krenezak, Bohemia on 15 Jan 1846. They were married in Bohemia in 1869. According to the Leo Baca Port Books, records show they emigrated from Bohemia on 21 Aug 1874 on the ship called the Weser. Albert was 40 and Antonia was 23 at the time.

They first settled at Pittsburgh, PA. After a few months, they settled on a farm near Festina, IA where they made their home for several years. Upon retiring they lived with their daughter, Mrs. Frank Leibold, 2 1/2 miles south of Fort Atkinson. Mr. & Mrs. Dobrodinsky were faithful members of the Catholic church and together raised a family of three daughters: Frances (Leibold), Antonia (Spalla), and Mary (Leibold). Albert Dobrodinsky died 9 Feb 1906 and Antonia died 23 Feb 1931. They are buried at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Fort Atkinson.

Dodge, John E. and Naida F. (Sheetz)

(Naida (Sheetz) Dodge)

John Eugene Dodge was born 19 Feb 1887 in Pima, Graham Co, AZ, to John Simon Dodge and Lenora McRay Holladay, Mormon pioneers. He had two sisters, Alva Retta and Ann Mariah. His father died when the children were young. John left school in about the 4th grade to go to work. One job he had was to drive the horse that powered the cane mill to make sorghum. He was paid $.50 a day and took it in burned sorghum. Later worked for “YE Cattle Ranch herding cattle and breaking horses.

John married Lola Courtney 4 Jan 1917. During World War I they lived in Globe, Gila Co, AZ, where he worked in a copper mine as a ‘eager’ (elevator operator). They had a son, John Stanford (b. 20 Dec 1917). John homesteaded 160 acres southwest of Pima. During the Depression, they and several other members of the family moved to Los Angeles to find work. John went to barber’s college and became a licensed barber. Later he moved back to Pima where he used his talents as a barber. He and Lola divorced and Grandma Dodge took Stanford.

Naida Florence Sheetz was born on the pioneer farm north of Freeport, Winneshiek Co, IA 1 Mar 1908 to Vernon Chancey Sheetz and Elsie Stuart Paley. She has one sister, Lila Grace Schneider. Naida was educated at the Drake School in Glenwood Twp and Decorah High School. She taught one year at the Drake School, then went into nursing, graduating from St. John’s Lutheran Hospital, St. Paul, MN and Chicago Laying-In Hospital where she specialized in Obstetrics. Naida worked in the following hospitals: St. John's Hospital, St. Paul, MN; Decorah Hospital, Decorah; Mercy Hospital, Des Moines; Morris-Squib, Safford, AZ; and Phelps Dodge Copper Mining Hospital, Morenci, AZ. It was while working at Morris-Squib that she was sent to the barber shop to get the hospital scissors sharpened. She met John and a courtship began. They were married 1 May 1940 and moved to Iowa.

John and Naida bought a farm from Vincent and May Henry northeast of Freeport (across the river from Naida’s home farm). It was there the “cowboy/barber” proved to be a successful farmer. They were members of the Farm Bureau, Freeport School Board, Winneshiek County Saddle Club and the Freeport Methodist Church.

Bio Photo

'Jack", Billy, Sheryl and Naida Dodge taken about 1954 in Arizona.

Their children were born at the Decorah Hospital: Sheryl Kay and Billy Joe.

In 1951 John retired due to poor health and they moved back to Arizona. Naida went back to nursing - first at Southside Hospital, the Lutheran Hospital and back to Southside where she worked until retiring in 1972. They were active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Naida did volunteer work at their Genealogy Library.

Sheryl married Ernest T. Hancock and has three children. She is a saleswoman for McKesson Pharmaceutical Co, Albany, NY Billy married Harriet Wilson and has fifteen children. He is a plumber’s journeyman and lives next his mother’s home in Mesa, AZ.

John died 10 Sep 1973. Naida is still active in church, genealogy and sewing for Home Crafts.

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.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021