Eleanor, an only child, was born in Kansas City, MO. Her dad was a custodian. After spending the 8th grade in Elkhart, IA, they moved to Des Moines, where she graduated from East Des Moines in 1958. She was working for the Iowa Employment Security Commission when she met Wayne. Wayne was born in Audubon County at home. The family farmed at that time. He was the 2nd oldest of 5. His siblings include Merle Elsberry and Marlene Schwab, and two sisters, Barb and Mary, in Council Bluffs. In 1952 the family moved into Audubon, where his dad sold feed and livestock. He graduated there in 1957. He then attended the Capital City Community College in Des Moines, studying business.
It was here they met, as they lived in the same apartment complex. The men in the apartment asked the women to join in a baseball pool. At their first meeting, she knew Wayne was the one she wanted to marry. Their first date, to see “Man in a Gray Flannel Suit”, was on October 30, 1959. Wayne proposed in an elevator (how romantic!) They were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Moines on December 30, 1959. It was –10 degrees that day, and they spent their wedding night in Ankeny, Eleanor has worked at Spurgeon’s, The Medicine Chest, Cass County Cleaners and filled in as Zion’s Church Secretary. Wayne was a bookkeeper for 1 year, but didn’t like being inside. He went to work for Walnut Grove in 1965, managing warehouses for them. In 1978 he became an over-the-road driver for Atlantic Carriers for 9 years. He also worked for Cass County Elevator and ADM Feeds. Their working life has taken them to Logan, Audubon, Guthrie Center, Osceola, Creston, and Atlantic. He retired in 2002. They spent years in Bells Vista, Arkansas, before moving back to Atlantic in 2006.
Their 3 children include Peggy Toft, living in Exira where she owns Spartan Insurance. She has 3 children, a boy and 2 girls; Sandy Cooper, married to Dana, living in Atlantic. She teaches at the middle school, and Dana owns Brown Body Shop. They have 2 daughters; and Julie Stubbs, married to Jim lives in Des Moines, where she works for an Attorney. They heave 4 boys. The Elsberry’s also have 11 great-grandchildren. They enjoyed camping with the children.
The Elsberry’s have been active members of Zion. Eleanor is in LWML, Grace Circle, sings in the choir and has served on the Worship committee and taught Sunday School. Wayne’s church jobs have included Chairman, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, belonging to the Men’s Club and serving as a Trustee and Elder. They both attend the Sunday evening Bible Class. Eleanor has played piano and clarinet in her days. She enjoys reading and has crocheted afghans for all the children. She also plays cards with the Zion group at the Senior Center. Wayne participated in track in High School and continued with this interest, having run the Drake marathon and the Omaha marathon. They still walk together. Wayne bought a tractor so he could participate in tractor rides.
They haven’t done a lot of traveling, however, they did attend the Olympic time trials in California, and visited Monterey, Mexico. Eleanor would like to visit Hawaii. In a relaxing mode, Wayne likes anything on RFD channel. We thank them for their support of Zion, and wish them God’s blessings into the future.