Six decades ago, Terry Fortmann and Ida Brenner met because of a friend who needed some backup.

“We went on a blind date together, and 60 years later, here we are,” Terry said.

A friend of Terry’s wanted to go out with a friend of Ida’s, but he didn’t want to go alone.

The four went to Grand Opera House, then a movie theater and watched the historical romance “Raintree County.” After the movie, they went to Ida’s friend’s house to play games.

Daughter Beth Ann Ofstein recalled that when her father tells stories of that night, he says he knew immediately that he wanted to marry Ida someday.

Sixteen-year-old Ida had been casually dating another boy before the blind date. Terry, then 17, had just broken up with another girl.

“My father said, ‘You can’t date two boys — you have to decide on one,’” Ida recalled. “Of course, I decided on Terry.”

Personality was the deciding factor — Terry was always happy, Ida said.

Three years later around Christmastime, Terry asked Ida to marry him, wrapping the ring in a box.

They held the wedding on Sept. 9, 1961, at Nativity Catholic Church. Except for three years when the family moved to Bluegrass, Iowa, the Fortmanns stayed in Dubuque ever since.

In the beginning, Ida worked for a couple of years serving lunch at Washington Junior High School and stayed home with their three children, Kristie Fortmann Doser, Beth Ann and Keith Fortmann.

“My son comes home one night and he says, ‘Why don’t you work, Mom? Other moms work,’” Ida recalled.

Terry and Ida laugh about it. As a stay-at-home mother, Ida was doing quite a bit of work at home. But Keith’s comment did give Ida an idea and reminded her of a career day in which she had participated years earlier.

When she was still in school, Ida and a few classmates had visited a bank for the day. She enjoyed the visit.

“I liked to deal with money,” Ida said.

Ida became a teller at Dubuque Savings and Loan Association, working her way up to personal banker and supervisor. She worked full time for 20 years and then worked for another five years part time as a teller.

Ida has shared her financial gifts at church. In 1964, she was a founding member of the Women’s Recreation Association. She played volleyball and served as the group’s first treasurer.

For 22 years, Terry worked for department stores, including Roshek Brothers and Stampfer’s. After that, he went into real estate. Terry was a broker-owner of Dubuque Partners Real Estate Co.

Ida also was a Girl Scout leader, and Terry helped out with Cub Scouts.

The family enjoyed picnics, euchre and traveling. At one point, Terry and Ida were members of three card clubs at the same time.

The Fortmanns have been ice-cream lovers for years. Whenever they passed a Dairy Queen in the car, Ida and the children would tell Terry to stop.

“The kids and I would sing, ‘Let’s all go to the Dairy Queen — Dad buys,’” Ida said. “It was a running joke and still is.”

“They really loved ice cream,” Terry said.

Terry was a golfer and a member of Dubuque Board of Realtors, Dubuque Noon Optimists and Knights of Columbus.

In 1988, all three of the Fortmann children were married in the same busy year.

“We refer to it as the year of the wedding,” Terry said.

The Fortmanns now have seven grandchildren.

“They made time for each other,” Ofstein said. “You can tell they are very much in love with each other, and it’s very evident in how they are together.”

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