In Watertown, S.D., recently with Leonard and Myrle Minerman to celebrate Minerman's nearly 70 years as a Mason are, from left, Watertown, S.D., Worshipful Master Bill Dempsey, the Minermans, immediate Past Grand Master Del Ripley of Gettysburg, S.D., and District Master Milo Dailey of Watertown, S.D., whose district includes Milbank, S.D., where Minerman holds his Lodge membership.

It would have been almost a 70-year presentation for Leonard Minerman as his wife Myrle pinned a 60-year award onto his lapel. Minerman, 97, became a Mason in Langford in 1931, completed his degree work in Ipswich and began as Florence, S.D., school superintendent the same year. A year later he married Myrle -- a member of Eastern Star who joined in Castlewood around 1928, moved to Ipswich and then went into banking.

A nine-year demit from his Lodge from 1941 through 1949 in a community where there was no Masonry was followed by affiliating with the Milbank, S.D., Lodge where he remains a member in spite of living outside the state for about 20 years.

In Lancaster, Calif., from 1970 to 1978, he was secretary of the High 12 for about eight years -- and saw a California Grand Lodge school cornerstone ceremony. Then he moved to Bishop, Calif., where he attended Lodge.

The couple has one son, Roger, now a mortgage banker living in the Jackson Hole area of Wyoming, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Myrle doesn't like to say exactly when she was born, but she notes she was born in Watertown and is the fifth child whose birth was registered in Codington County after they started the records in 1905. (Her husband was born March 23, 1903, at Exira, Iowa.) There was one problem with the birth record, she said: Her name was mistaken and she was listed as a boy.

When her husband got into banking, Mrs. Minerman started teaching English, a 19-year-career capped with 10 years in Milbank where she was named Teacher of the Year. "We have had a wonderful life," she said. The couple lives at 200 South Maple, Watertown, SD 57201.