Guttenberg couples to be honored at Stars and Stripes

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Don and Janice Rohner will be honored on July 6 as Guttenberg's Super Seniors during the Stars and Stripes parade. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

Gayle and Dennis Hanna will be the Grand Marshals for this year's Stars and Stripes parade. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Two couples will be honored at this year's Stars and Stripes celebration set for Saturday, July 6, in Guttenberg. 

Super Seniors Don and Janice Rohner and Parade Grand Marshals Gayle and Dennis Hanna have been chosen to represent our community for the event. 

Super Seniors

The Rohners, both in their mid-eighties, have been married for 62 years. The couple raised six children including a set of twin girls on a farm in rural Garnavillo.  

Upon retirement the pair purchased a home located on River Park Drive across from Ingleside Park, a stone's throw from the Mississippi River in Guttenberg.  The couple has 12 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. They both remain active in the community, sharing their time and talent with a variety of volunteer organizations. 

Janice is a member of the Guttenberg Hospital Auxiliary and the Catholic Daughters and Parish of Life, through St. Mary's Catholic Church. She volunteers her time at the hospital gift shop, the community mealsite and the Guttenberg Care Center.  

"My wife is never home. I forget she lives here, especially the first week of every month. She feeds everybody else but me," Don said with a chuckle.

During his "retirement" Don worked at the Guttenberg Golf and Country Club as a groundskeeper and was a member of the country club board. He was a member of the Riverfront Advisory Board and remains active in St. Mary's Church. 

They both enjoy playing cards, golfing, cruising around town in their golf cart and attending the many social events the community has to offer. Don enjoys the couple's location and takes advantage of the river walk daily for exercise.  They both keep busy tending to their vegetable garden and raspberry patch, and Janice enjoys canning and preserving the fruits and vegetables they grow. 

When asked what keeps them together, happy and active they said with a smile, "We like to stay active socially to avoid isolation. A good sense of humor is a must, and everyday at 5:00 we sit down and have a beer together." 

Grand Marshals 

Retired schoolteachers Gayle and Dennis Hanna moved to Guttenberg in 1958.   

The couple met in Des Moines while attending college. Dennis explained, "We were members of the pep band, and the director asked Gayle if she wanted to play percussion in the concert band. She said 'yes' and the director told me, 'you can teach her.'" 

The couple has a daughter, Vicki, son-in-law Brian, two grandsons, and five great-grandchildren. 

The Hannas taught for many years in the former Guttenberg Community School District. Gayle was a physical education teacher, and Dennis was a music teacher and band director. 

Gayle is an active member of Eastern Star, the Guttenberg German Band and the General Federation of Women's Club  (GFWC- Iowa) Guttenberg Book Club, holding state, district and national offices with the women's organization.

Dennis has been involved with Iowa Boy's State since 1964.  During his 56 years of service he was a county counselor, assistant director, and eventually became the Boy's State director. He was the Boy's State Band director for over 35 years and still fills in when needed. 

He was the office manager for the American School Band Directors Association for 20 years and   still remains active in this program. 

He is a member of the 85-member All Iowa Military Band, a Mason, a member of Eastern Star and is the director and drummer for the Guttenberg German Band. 

Dennis and Gayle's passion for music has kept them on their toes for many years. They are founders and long-standing members of the community's German Band. The couple has dedicated many years of service helping our community celebrate our German heritage through music. The Hannas have traveled with the German Band and  performed at numerous community celebrations, church services and many other area venues throughout Iowa and Wisconsin including two tours of Germany. 

Our community salutes these four energetic seniors for all they do to make Guttenberg a great place live!

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