When Bill Lockie boarded the bus in Hillyard one morning in 1947, he noticed a cute brunette sitting primly on one of the seats. He took a seat and stole glances at her all the way downtown.
Bill was attending classes at Kinman Business University, having recently been discharged from the Marine Corps. “I grew up in Lewiston and joined the service right after I graduated in 1942 – we all did,” he said.
His parents had moved to Spokane while he was in the service, and he joined them when he was discharged. He didn’t have a car, so he took the bus downtown to school. Every day he looked for that pretty brunette, and every day she was there.
Dorothy Lockie was attending beauty school downtown. Her family had farmed in North Dakota and had come to Spokane to escape the drought that had made farming difficult.
“We sold everything we had and loaded everything else in our car,” she said. “We intended to go to Seattle, but we didn’t make it that far.”
Instead, they settled here, and Dorothy graduated from Rogers High School and then started beauty school.
She noticed the tall, lanky redhead eyeing her on the bus and wondered if he’d ever speak to her. “I was nervous,” Bill said. “I finally got up the nerve and struck up a conversation.”
The conversation eventually evolved into a request for a date. That was 67 years ago and time has blurred the memory of when and where that date occurred, but they both agree one date led to many, many more.
“We used to go dancing,” Bill said. “She liked to dance and so did I. I’d borrow my dad’s 1940 Ford and take her to Nelson’s Corner out on East Sprague.”
Dorothy nodded. “He was a good dancer.”
She soon got a job as a beautician at the Crescent and they often met under the Crescent clock and went to lunch.
There was no doubt in Bill’s mind that he’d found the love of his life, but he hesitated to propose. “I didn’t have a really steady job yet,” he said. “But I knew for quite awhile that I wanted to marry her.
Dorothy laughed. “It’s a good thing I was working – he probably married me for my money!”
She, too, was confident that he was the one for her. “We talked about everything and had so much fun together.”
Bill saved his money and bought her a ring at Dodson’s Jewelers. The couple married on May 7, 1949, at Central Lutheran Church.
They honeymooned in Idaho at Lake Chatcolet. “A buddy of mine had a cabin there,” Bill said.
Shortly after they married, Bill learned the Spokane Police Department was hiring. He and a friend joined the department in 1950.
While out on patrol, Bill noticed several houses going up in the Shadle area. “I put $100 down and our mortgage was $50 a month. I was making $200 per month at the police department.”
Dorothy agreed that the house would be a good investment, and indeed it has been – the couple still lives in the home they purchased in 1951.
Their family grew with the birth of their first child, Floyd, in 1954. Dorothy left the beauty business to stay home with their son and in the next 10 years, daughters Tami, Jana and Rhonda arrived.
Bill served 26 years at the police department and held many positions from patrol officer to court bailiff to jailer.
Despite the busyness of work and family, they still made time to dance. They joined Hicks and Chicks, a square dancing group, and Dorothy enjoyed sewing her swirling skirts. And not too long ago, Bill, now 90, and Dorothy, 87, won the jitterbug contest at one of Dorothy’s Rogers High School reunions.
After retiring from the police department, Bill worked for several years as head of security for Community Colleges of Spokane.
No matter what his job, Bill has always made time for his favorite hobby. “I started golfing in 1935 at age 11,” he said. He glanced at Dorothy. “I introduced her, drafted her, drug her into it.”
She smiled. “I liked it.”
When Bill said his favorite place to play is Downriver Golf Course, Dorothy added, “You’ll be out there as soon as you can!” She looked out the window at their snow-covered lawn. “Well, you may have to wait awhile.”
Bill smiled when asked the secret to their enduring union. He recalled what the pastor who married them said. “He told us, ‘Now you remember marriage is a 60/40 proposition both ways.’ ”
In May it will be 65 years since those words were spoken, but Bill said, “I’ve never forgotten that.”
Dorothy said marriage to the boy she met on the bus has worked out nicely. “He’s pretty good to me and we’ve always gotten along well.”
Bill laughed. “I’m a better lover than a fighter, I’ll tell you that much.”