Meet our 2017 Royalty:

Larry and Yvonne (Vonnie) Ory

The Madison County Covered Bridge Festival Committee is excited to announce that Larry and Yvonne (Vonnie) Ory of Earlham will reign as King and Queen for the 48th Annual Covered Bridge Festival celebration!

Larry was born and raised on the Ory farm located 3 miles east of Earlham – the same farm where his dad was born 20 years earlier. His parents were Marion and Dorothy Ory, and Larry has four brothers – Bill, Jack, Denny, and David. Yvonne was born near Winterset, but grew up on a farm a mile south of DeSoto. Her parents were Eugene (Bus) and Dorothy Marquardt. She has two brothers, Dick and Jim Marquardt, and one sister, Judy Brittain.

Larry and Yvonne were married on June 27, 1958 at Trinity Lutheran Church in rural Van Meter. They have been friends since kindergarten at DeSoto Community School, began dating in junior high, and graduated together in the Class of 1957 from DeSoto. Larry stated in his class will that year that “I, Larry Ory, wish to keep all that I have, including my girlfriend!”

Yvonne is a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) and Larry joined in 1958. The pair taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and confirmation class and they both served as Sunday School Superintendents. Vonnie was Financial Secretary of the church for two terms, and Larry was an elder and chairman of the congregation for two terms.

Larry and Yvonne have 4 grown children: Mike (Denise) and Steve (Julie) of Earlham, Leisa (Phil) Imboden of Earlham, and Trish (Monte) Hopkins of Winterset. They also have nine grandchildren: Lindsey (Bryan) Mutchler, Dan (Summer) Ory, Joe Ory, Jenna (Jackson) Stanley, Tess Ory, Paul (Kristin) Imboden, Jamie (Andy) Smith, Denton Hopkins, and Canyon Hopkins. Additionally they have 5 great grandchildren: Sophia and Athena Mutchler, Charlotte and Marshal Imboden, and Adeline Ory.

Agriculture has been part of Larry and Vonnie’s lives from the very beginning. When first married, Larry worked as a salesman for a farm equipment dealership and Vonnie worked for an abstract company in Des Moines. She later worked for a mortgage loan company until she and Larry started a family, then Vonnie stayed home to care for the farm and their children. Together they farmed, renting additional acres plus raising hogs and feeder calves.

Yvonne eventually returned to the work force and began working at Equitable of Iowa Companies in Des Moines. After 20 years of service she retired and joined Larry in the Pioneer seed sales business. Larry is just completing 30 years as a sales representative for Pioneer. Grandson is now the official sales representative, and Larry is his associate.

Larry served on the school board for the Earlham Community School District in the 1980s, and has enjoyed a life-long love of history – particularly reading biographies of veterans and wartime.

Yvonne was one of the charter members of the Madison County CowBelles and recalls making gift packages for moms with newborn babies at the Madison County Hospital. The package included gift certificates from local businesses as well as a bundle of baby items. Her mother-in-law, Dottie, was one of the organizers.

Yvonne was also a 4H leader for the Madison Marionettes that eventually combined with another club to become the current Penn Prize Winners. She also enjoys cooking, and used to take noon meals to the field for workers during planting and harvest seasons. Those responsibilities have now been passed along to daughters-in-law, and granddaughter Lindsey, who owns the Hometown Market in Earlham, along with her husband, Bryan.

When their children were in school, Larry and Yvonne were members of the Earlham Music Boosters and followed the Earlham High School Jazz Band to many contests where they won first-place awards and honors. They hosted an AFS student named Ola Eide of Tolga, Norway during the 1978-1979 school year. They were also members of the Earlham Athletic Boosters when their children were involved in sports. The Athletic Boosters used to host a booth at Covered Bridge Festival, and Yvonne remembers a year it rained so hard and so steady that they were standing in ankle-deep water, trying desperately to sell Earlham athletic apparel and brats to the Festival crowd.

During the winter months, Larry and Vonnie enjoy reading, playing pitch with friends, and watching their friends’ children in sporting events. They travel to Storm Lake and nearby colleges to watch their youngest grandson play basketball on the Buena Vista Men’s Basketball Team.

Larry and Yvonne are thankful that all of their family graduated from Earlham schools, and are all college graduates, with the exception of one grandson who is currently in college. They believe they have “stock” in Iowa State University, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Central College, and Buena Vista University. Grandson Denton is a teacher in the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn School District, and teaches in the very same classroom where his grandparents learned their ABC’s, as did his great-grandparents, Marion and Dorothy Ory and Dorothy Baker Marquardt.

The Hogback Covered Bridge has special memories for Larry and Vonnie, as they took Larry’s parents there many times to visit while they were residents at West Bridge Care & Rehabilitation. Larry and Vonnie have been Madison County residents all of their lives, and are thrilled that their children and adult grandchildren returned to Madison County to live and raise families.