There’s a lot of heart, a lot of spark left in Chuck and Dorothy Eitelgeorge’s marriage after 50 years with no apparent change in how they felt about each other in 1962 compared to their love and compassion for each other that exists today.
Both educators, the couple shared their devotion to family, to their faith and to the community that has played a big part in the success of their partnership that ironically began early on with a date at the movies. The show, “A Pocket Full of Miracles,” suggested much about their future life together.
Eitelgeorge said their faith in their Lord Jesus Christ has been the crux and the guiding light for their family since the two of them first met.
Teaching in the primary grades at Lincoln Elementary School in the early ‘60s, Dorothy was living with a roommate on Sequoia Avenue in Manteca. She was hired at Lincoln by the late superintendent Neil Hafley.
Chuck had been going to college out of state in Idaho. When his roommate heard he was going to be traveling to the Manteca area, he made him promise to visit an old friend and her roommate on Sequoia – where Dorothy was also living.
“I’ll never forget the knock on my door,” Dorothy remembered, when Chuck walked up to the house in what appeared to have been a setup all along for a date with her.
Chuck said he had told his buddy, “If I like her I’ll ask her out – if not, I will just leave.”
He didn’t leave. Days later they went to San Francisco to take part in a Chinese New Year celebration.
The man who years later would become the Nile Garden Elementary School principal, he was quick to support her teaching effort by putting up her classroom bulletin boards.
“That was special,” she said of seeing his touch in her classroom.
“I left them up for a long time until another teacher came by and said I should change the bulletin boards,” she quipped, not wanting to lose the moment in time of his encouragement.
Chuck had left Manteca to do graduate work in English for a semester out of state again.
Dorothy remembers, “I told my folks he’s handsome, he nice,” but I didn’t think I’d ever see him again after he had left to do the postgraduate work.
But she did see him again when he moved back to Manteca and took a job with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District (SSJID) as a concrete inspector under general manager Noel Negley.
“He’d leave me flowers, homemade flags and notes,” she said. “When he asked me if I would go to the LDS Temple with him to be married, my heart flipped!”
They were married in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Los Angeles, the only one in the state in 1962. With them were Tom Crocket and Brenda Darling with the 15-minute-long marriage ceremony uniting them “for all eternity.”
Their reception was held in the former LDS chapel on East North Street where they celebrated with their friends and relatives.
Dorothy said they have the best four children in all the world, Bill, Jani, Ellen (who has passed away) and Laurel. “Now (we) have the best grandkids,” she added, “our treasures, 15 grandchildren.
Emily, 20, is at Brigham Young University in Rexburg, Idaho where she is majoring in Elementary Education. Son-in-law Steve Burton, Laurel’s husband, is a principal in Cedar City, Utah. Daughter Jani Malmrose is in Heber City, Utah where she teaches a gifted class for third grade children. Son Bill is a former San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Deputy and is now a corporate level special investigator.
Eitelgeorge has long been a bishop in his congregation and now he’s the Patriarch at the Manteca Stake center – seen as a “very special man” in his church.