Wilmer and Irene Dinkel met at a polka dance at the Fanchon Ball Room in Hays, a first date arranged by a friend of Wilmer’s. From the moment they met, both said they had a certain feeling they were meant for each other.
“That first kiss did it!” Irene twinkles.
Both farm children — Wilmer from south of Victoria and Irene near Ellis — they both completed one year of high school. They were married September 3, 1952 at St. Mary's in Ellis, KS.
"Wilmer was a very good man, good provider and good husband," Irene recalls.
They raised four children, Agnes Dreher, Oklahoma, Wilmer Dinkel, Jr., Victoria, Mary Ann Windholz, Victoria, and Beverly Marie Dinkel, deceased.
For four decades Wilmer worked for Ready Mix hauling cement. He also did some construction work. Irene worked as a nurse’s aide at Hadley Hospital in Hays and for one year at St. John's of Victoria. She babysat in her home for 11 years for .35 cents an hour while still working as a housewife and caring for her family.
When Irene was still at home she loved to cook anything, especially pies and German food. On holidays they always had lots of family at their house.
True to their first date, they both enjoyed live polka bands. Wilmer and Irene Dinkel moved to St. John's of Victoria on Feb. 9, 2004. They enjoyed several years there together prior to Wilmer’s death.
Irene says the staff members at Victoria are super and the camaraderie is great. She says the other residents here are like family to her. When someone is sick or missing she worries and prays for them. In her spare time Irene prays, reads, loves cooking magazines, and watches TV.