Joe and Esther Legg celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Sept. 18, 2019. It all began as a love story at Iowa State University. Esther transferred to ISU to complete a major in textiles and clothing and joined the Iowa State Marching Band. By chance, one of the trombone players was Joe Legg, who had come to ISU to major in animal science and agronomy, the science of soil and crop production. Their first date might have been to the Homecoming Dance. Esther designed and tailored evening gowns for several other events during their four years of courting. In 1948, Esther was selected to represent Barton Hall in the ISU Boom Beauty Queen contest. On Sept. 18, 1949, they got married in Ames.
Esther worked as an Extension Home Economist her first year after graduation. Joe began a career as the Jones County Extension Director in June 1950, a service provided in cooperation with land-grant universities to provide education and research-based knowledge to farmers as small business operators. Joe provided that leadership to Jones County for 35 years.
Joe and Esther built a successful and fulfilling life in Anamosa. They became actively engaged in the community. Joe helped plan a short documentary movie about the city, “Small Town USA,” filmed in the late 1950s about life and leadership. Throughout the decades, they both served on boards and committees for the Methodist church, youth programs, the hospital board and more. Joe served several terms as mayor of Anamosa. They raised four successful children. They have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
When asked about the “key” to a successful marriage, Joe’s advice was, “Respect each other. Celebrate your partner also for their individual strengths and achievements. Listen. Be a friend. When you are proud of something your wife has done, tell it to your friends at Rotary, church, and the office. Consider their feelings.” He also noted, “For many years, we kissed each morning as I left for work. I came home for lunch, and as I departed, we often kissed again.” Joe and Esther had a strong marriage and partnership, always striving for good communication and joint decision-making.
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health....are the vows they pledged. Today they still hold hands and exchange glances of love and respect. Their “love peck kisses” continue to seal the deal. They celebrated their 70th Anniversary: a great marriage partnership.