Doxsee moves home to a place he remembers

John Doxsee, 72, recently moved back to Monticello, his hometown. Doxsee is the son of Wilbur and Martha Doxsee. The Doxsee family has a long history of owning and editing the Monticello Express newspaper. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     In June 2017, John Doxsee stopped in Monticello for a visit.

     “That was the first time I’d been back in many years,” he said.

     A few weeks ago, Doxsee again returned to Monticello, but this time for good.

     Doxsee holds some history of Monticello, a place he called home for part of his childhood.

     You see, Doxsee is the son of Wilbur (Bill) and Martha Doxsee. Wilbur was a former editor of the Monticello Express newspaper.

     The Doxsee family’s legacy within the Express extends several lines:

     • J.W. Doxsee was co-editor from 1883-88, and editor from 1888-1915, and co-editor again from 1915-39

     • Charles Doxsee was co-editor from 1915-39, and editor from 1939-48

     • Wilbur was editor from 1948-54

     Wilbur was the 10th editor of the Express. His father (John’s grandfather), Charles, was the ninth editor. Wilbur’s grandfather (John’s great grandfather) was J.W. Doxsee.

     Wilbur passed away in 2016; Martha in 2004.

     When John Doxsee visited a few years ago, he and his partner, Ray, were living in Texas. Doxsee moved to Florida in 2019 after Ray passed away.

     “I didn’t want to stay in Texas,” he said. “There were too many memories there.”

     After living in Florida for a while, Doxsee said he quickly learned that the cost of living was too expensive, and he felt a yearning to return to simpler life in Monticello, Iowa.

     “I always suggested to Ray that we move to a nice small town,” he recalled. “And I can do that now. I always felt at home here (in Monticello).”

     As luck would have it, Doxsee was able to move into an ancestral home here in Monticello.

     “There were several Doxsee homes in town at one time,” he said of homes on W. First Street and Gill Street.

     While Doxsee does not drive, he said living in a small town allows him to walk where needed, or seek rides from those he’s gotten to know.

     “I’m not your typical 72-year-old,” he joked.

     Doxsee likes to stay busy and active, hoping to get involved in local groups such as the Monticello Heritage and Cultural Center, once it reopens after being closed due to the pandemic.

     Of this transition from big cities in both Texas and Florida, Doxsee said it’s been easy going moving to a smaller community.

     “I was looking forward to it,” he said, “looking forward to coming home. I have a lot of ties here.”

     Doxsee still recalls McNeill Hardware and Albert McNeill, and the Strittmatter family and home.

     “McNeill’s seems the same,” he said. “I noticed that right away.”

     Doxsee said the community, in general, still has that homey feel.

     “It’s very relaxed here,” he said.

     The Doxsee family left the area in 1954 when Wilbur sold the Express to Johnny (H.M.) Jones.

     “We are here to stay and to grow,” J.W. Doxsee was quoted as saying in the Express’ commemorative sesquicentennial issue. And grow the family did…

     When the Doxsees moved to Minnesota, John graduated from high school in 1966. He then joined and served in the United States Navy for four years in California.

     Doxsee was a year and a half old when he was adopted by Wilbur and Martha Doxsee in Linn County. The couple adopted two children and had three of their own. Four of their children are still alive today, residing in Monticello, Iowa; Wisconsin; New Orleans; and Oregon.

     With family living out of state, Doxsee said, “I make friends very easily.”

     He also got acquainted with people during his last visit back in 2017.

     “The town is still so vivid in my memory like it was yesterday,” he said.


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