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70th anniversary

Frances and Allan Doughan of Britt are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this month. They wed April 19, 1949, in Duncan.

BRITT – For decades, Duncan Community Hall — and dancing — have brought Allan and Frances Doughan together.

And this year, the year in which they celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary, is no different.

“We love to dance,” Allan said.

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Waltz, foxtrot and polka are among their favorites.

The two, children of avid dancers, spent many evenings and weekends at area dance halls growing up.

70 years ago

Frances and Allan Doughan married April 19, 1949, in Duncan.

Allan, 89, one of seven children born to Ray and Marie Doughan, graduated from Corwith High School in 1946, while Frances, 87, the youngest of Adolf and Mary Ptacek’s eight children, attended Britt High School for only two years because her parents didn’t believe in high school.

They met as teens at the Britt Candy Kitchen, an ice cream place where all the young kids kind of hung out after high school.

“We’d go in there and he’d come in there with some other guys once in a while, and we got to visiting,” Frances said.

In 1947, Allan asked Frances to go home with him after her sister’s wedding dance at Duncan Community Hall, but instead of leaving with him, she went home with her sister who got married.

Their paths later crossed again uptown.

“She was chasing me,” Allan said with a smile.

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The couple married on April 19, 1949, at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Duncan. Their reception was held at Forester Hotel in Forest City, and their dance took place in Klemme.

Allan and Frances moved onto the Doughan family farm south of Britt, where they resided in a two-bedroom wash house.

“My parents lived in the big house,” he said. “We lived in the shack.”

Allan and Frances (Ptacek) Doughan 2

Frances and Allan Doughan are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this April. They wed April 19, 1949.

The couple raised their eight children, Diane, Dwight, Duane, Danny, Debbie, Douglas, Dean and Darla, in the wash house.

Allan farmed while Frances cared for the children.

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“They all turned out real good, every one of them,” Allan said.

The couple moved into Allan’s childhood home when his parents relocated, and they resided there until they moved to Britt in 1994.

Allan and Frances’ children are live within a 20-mile radius, with the exception of their son, Dean, who died in December 2017.

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The couple has 23 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren.

All their children, grandchildren and several great grandchildren attended Britt-West Hancock High School.

Allan and Frances (Ptacek) Doughan 1

Frances and Allan Doughan married April 19, 1949, in Duncan.

When asked what the secret to a long-lasting marriage is, Frances said, “I guess we just get along.”

Allan agreed.

“Whatever the other person wants to do, go along with it,” he said. “It may not always be right, but you still gotta go along with the other person.”

The couple also laughs a lot and makes up after they fight.

The Doughans will celebrate their wedding anniversary with a reception and dance from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Duncan Community Hall. A lunch will be available during the dance.

The Malek’s Fishermen Band, a Midwest polka band, will play a wide range of dance music, including polkas, waltzes and two-step as well as big band, country and other dance-hall favorites.

“They’re great,” Frances said.

The band has played at all their anniversary dances, including their 25th and 50th, so the Doughans are able to share their love for dance with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Those unable to attend are invited to send cards to 816 Second St. SW Britt, IA 50423.

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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