Hosford looks back on 103 years of life

Lyle Hosford celebrated his 103rd birthday on Friday, July 14. Many friends and family members stopped by Monticello Nursing and Rehab Center to offer well wishes. Hosford is seen here with granddaughter Lisa Hosford. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     On Friday, July 14, Lyle Hosford celebrated quite a milestone… That was the day he turned 103 years old.

     “That’s what they tell me anyway,” he joked.

     Lyle has been at the Monticello Nursing and Rehabilitation Center since May due to a bout with pneumonia. His granddaughter, Lisa Hosford, said this is only his second move in his lifetime.

     Lyle took over his parents’ farm in Castle Grove Township after they passed. In October 1978, he and his wife, Doloris (Warner) Hosford, moved into a house on Hillcrest Drive in Monticello, along with their four grandchildren they were raising at the time.

     Lyle retired from farming himself at the age of 62.

     Lyle and Doloris were married for 75 years.

     The couple had three children, though Lyle joked he, himself, did not have the children. Two are now deceased.

     The family lineage continues with nine grandchildren (one deceased), 12 great grandchildren, and 17 great-great grandchildren (with one deceased).

     “There are not many Hosfords around this area,” said granddaughter Lisa, “but we’re all connected some how.”

     The Hosford family line has a strong history of living long, happy lives. Lyle’s parents lived into their 90s. His sister, Gladys (Hosford) Boshear passed in 2008 at the age of 105. His brother, Clarence, (or as some refer to as Doc Hosford) was in his 90s when he passed.

     Lyle said the secret to a long healthy life is not to misuse your body too much.

     He and Doloris stayed extremely active going to dances at the dance hall above what is now Home Furniture Gallery. He recalled treating Doloris to a 5-cent ice cream cone and pop at the sweet shop located across the street (what is now Poke’s Pawn Shop).

     “Now you can’t get much for a nickel,” Lyle said.

     For their 50th anniversary, the Hosford family celebrated at Loop’s Ballroom, another dance hall favorite in Monticello.

     Lyle has many fond memories of growing up in the area. He attended Country School #2 through eighth grade. Lyle quit school then to help his father on their farm.

     He was a 4-H leader as an adult for about 10 years, accompanying kids to the Great Jones County Fair to show their cattle.

     “The kids said I was their best leader,” he said.

     His father, Sprague Hosford, wrote the Castle Grove Township news for the Express for many years.

     “Every week he rushed to get his news done for the paper,” Lyle recalled.

     Sprague also sold for Castle Grove Insurance.

     Sharing his own special memories with his son, Larry, the two would take to the open road traveling the U.S. Larry was a truck driver and would pop home from time to time, without much notice, to take his father with him on a run. Lyle said he always kept a bag of clothes and a stash of money ready in case Larry showed up.

     “We’d be gone for two to three weeks,” he said.

     Of their sleeping arrangements in the semi, Lyle joked, “We’d sleep feet-to-nose in the back.”

     Traveling was a tradition for the Hosford family. Lisa said she would go with her grandparents all over the State of Iowa, stopping in small towns.

     “We’d take a week and go somewhere,” she said, “without a destination in mind.”

     Lyle recalled stopping in West Bend, Iowa, home of the Grotto of the Redemption.

     “It’s quite a place,” he said. “It’s like the one (grotto) in Dickeyville, Wis., only a lot bigger.”

     Another tradition Lyle has enjoyed for years is his coffee club. He started this long-standing habit at the Monti Home Café, located where Superior Appliance is today. Then the group went to Hardee’s, where La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant is located now. After Hardee’s closed, they migrated to Darrells.

     When asked how turning 103 years old felt, Lyle, the sharp-as-a-tack jokester, simply offered, “It’s no different than when I was 102.”


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