Married nearly 50 years, Bill and Dolores Volz serve in top positions at Bridesburg’s American Legion Post 821
By Melissa Komar
It was height at first sight when Dolores Volz first laid eyes on her husband of nearly 50 years, Bill Volz, on a Friday night in 1969 at The Shack, a former restaurant on Roosevelt Boulevard.
Dolores, 81, is 5 feet 10 inches tall and Bill, 79, stands at 6 feet 5 inches.
“It was a Friday night and I went with my cousin Dorothy,” Dolores said. “And, I saw him and said, ‘I’m going to go stand next to that tall guy. Maybe he’ll talk to me.’ Because I was tall and he was tall. And we started talk. And he took my phone number and I thought, he isn’t going to call me. But, he did. And then we went to the movies. And, from then on, we saw each other every week.”
“In the 1950s I started taking you out,” Bill Volz joked.
Dolores and Bill were married on March 27, 1971, by a judge who lived nearby with an informal ceremony, with their mothers serving as witnesses.
“I was 35 and I was not one of those people who wanted a big, fancy wedding. I didn’t want any fuss,” Dolores Volz said. “So, we decided to get married by the judge who lived around the corner. And he said, ‘Do you want to get married in my home?’ And we said, ‘Sure.’ ”
Dolores’ mother made her dress and the only pictures they have of the wedding are smaller than a 4 by 6 and have faded over the years.
The couple celebrated after the ceremony with a dinner at their favorite spot, The Shack.
But it wouldn’t be the last time they took their vows.
They got married a second time when Dolores was pregnant with the couple’s daughter, a year after they were initially married.
And, then, they got married again.
About 10 years after their second wedding, the couple attended Marriage Encounters, a religious, weekend retreat with other married couples with vow renewal.
“You talk about how you met, you renew your vows,” Dolores said. “And, you get a weekend away from your children.”
“It was one of your brilliant ideas,” Bill said laughing.
Prior to meeting and getting married, Bill enlisted in the Army in 1961, a decision which would one day see the Volz manning the American Legion Post 821 in Bridesburg.
Because he didn’t see action, he was ineligible to join the American Legion at first.
“When I got out, the time I served wasn’t considered active duty, so eight to 10 years later, they changed it and I was considered under the Vietnam Era. So, I have 35 years in the legion now.”
Bill is currently the commander at American Legion Post 821 and was previously commander a few years ago.
Dolores would volunteer alongside Bill at meetings and events and joined the Ladies Auxiliary in 2011, serving as vice president her first year and president every year since.
Being in the top positions at the Post keeps the Volz busy: The couple plans events, helps sponsor dinners for veterans, makes baskets for families during Thanksgiving, collects for Toys for Tots and completes all the necessary paperwork to keep the Post running.
Despite being nearly inseparable — they go the gym together three times a week in addition to the time they spend at and working on business for the Post — Dolores and Bill never tire of each other’s company, something they don’t take for granted.
“You can’t hold grudges. Let’s say he does something I don’t like, I’ve heard women that say, ‘Well, I’m not cooking dinner.’ I never did that. And, I just think, well I do things he doesn’t like, so just forget,” Dolores said. “And, we don’t yell at each other. We don’t always like the same movies. He likes action movies and I like love stories. And, he likes sports, but I’ll sit and watch them, too. We’re always together.”
Being happily married for almost a half century also requires patience.
“You have to be patient,” Bill said. “You have to enjoy each other’s company.”
And help each other around the house.
“Don’t tell them everything,” Bill joked when Dolores talked about him helping cook.
“You have to respect each other and each other’s ideas,” Dolores said. “And you have to give a little.”
Aside from the day-to-day duties around the house and the responsibilities at the Post, the couple has traveled extensively.
With 13 cruises and counting under their belt, the Volz have visited Hawaii, Bali, the Caribbean Islands, the Bahamas, San Francisco, Niagara Falls, and Alaska.
They’ve been dropped off on a glacier, went white water rafting, climbed mountains and saw the Rose Bowl Parade in California.
Before the travel bug hit, the couple raised three children, Linda, Bill and John, their nephew, all who went on to college.
“We’ve had a good life,” Dolores said. “We always look at each other and say, ‘We’re lucky.’”
In all, luck, love, and humor have all played a part in the life the Volz have created.
“Somebody to keep her warm at night,” joked Bill in regard to what makes their marriage work.