The Valley Line: Sixty years 'fly by' for couple

More than 40 friends and family of Dorothy and Al Ertel gathered at Beckham Grill in Pasadena Sunday to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Dorothy and Al have lived in La Cañada Flintridge since 1961 and raised their four boys, Rick, Dave, Jim and Paul here. All of the sports-minded Ertel boys attended La Cañada High School.

Al and Dorothy met at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago which was the "happening" place for young adults to meet. Al, spotting the very attractive Dorothy from across the room, walked up to ask her to dance. Dorothy remembers that Al "cut a very dashing figure" and she replied, "I would love to dance."

At the end of the evening Al asked if he could take her home. Dorothy, thinking that he had a car and could take not only her but her girlfriends home, said, "Yes." It turns out that Al didn't have a car and he took her home via the bus.

That first dance turned into a romance and about two years later Al asked Dorothy to marry him. Of course she once again said, "Yes." They were married in a lovely little Chicago church on a scorching August day.

Al still didn't have a car when they married, but he did manage to talk his parents into borrowing the family car so that he could take Dorothy on a honeymoon.

Their honeymoon destination was Colorado, where they visited Colorado Springs, the unique and beautiful Red Rocks amphitheater and several of the state's national parks. They had a wonderful time on their two-week honeymoon and returned back to Chicago with one silver dollar and a car that was leaking oil.

"We have had a wonderful marriage," Dorothy said. "Al is the kindest, most wonderful man and these 60 years have just flown by."

Dorothy and Al have carved themselves a cozy niche in La Cañada Flintridge. For almost 20 years Dorothy taught school at Mountain Avenue Elementary School and Al had a fulfilling career in engineering.

Dorothy and Al attend La Cañada Presbyterian Church and Dorothy is a member of La Cañada Thursday Club. Al is an avid golfer and visits the links at least twice a week.

The Ertels are very proud grandparents of six grandchildren: Lacy, Tiani, Stephen, Sara, Helena and Sunny.

It was a wonderful get-together Sunday afternoon and the party, planned by her children, was grand. There was a magician to entertain guests, as well as a balloon artist to make imaginative creations for the kids. A great ice-breaker was a game that Dorothy called, "Getting to know you."

After the socializing and game playing a wonderful dinner was served and the grand finale was the presentation of the anniversary cake which had a photo of Dorothy and Al created in frosting.

Dorothy and Al are 60 years wed and still in love — what a beautiful thing. Congratulations, you two!

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. E-mail her at

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