He made $9 a week laundering large carpets such as those in movie theaters.
“We thought we were in heaven,” Dick said. “We were paying the rent, we were eating and everything else.”
After a year in Dallas, the couple moved back to Oklahoma City where Dick took a job with The
When Dick was drafted to the Air Force in World War II, Edna stayed at her mother's house, helping out with her twin siblings and taking care of her own child, Richard, who was only 8 months old when Dick left. But Dick was constantly on her mind.
“We lived next to Lightning Creek with my mother,” Edna recalls of the two years Dick was away at war. “We would go for a picnic in Lightning Creek. ... I could overlook my mother's house where I could see who might drive up and tell me he was dead.”
The Lutzes loved to dance together, and while Dick was away, Edna would sometimes go to the enlisted club to dance with some of the soldiers. She knew they were probably lonely being stationed away from their families.
One day, after Dick returned from war, the Lutzes were driving past the club, and Richard, who was standing up on the hump of the backseat, noticed their location and said, “Mama isn't this where we used to pick up that sailor?”
“I trusted her,” Dick said. “When you love somebody ....”
The Lutzes danced their way around the globe.
“We've danced in every country in the world just about,” Dick said. “We've taken boat trips to South America ... flew to Europe and danced in every country we could go to. Went to Australia and did the same thing.”
Hawaii was a favorite travel destination, and they often traveled with a dance club. Later, they formed a company teaching dancing and booking dance bands such as Guy Lombardo and later Al Pierson, Tony Baron and even Oklahoma City bandleader Al Good.
The couple owned a skating rink on NE 23 for several years in the 1980s until a shooting caused that business to fail.
Dick was one of the first people in Oklahoma selling and repairing televisions. His resume includes a long stint for “Ma Bell,” which eventually became AT&T, where he helped invent a version of the coin-operated pay phone. He has the last one ever made hanging on his living room wall, still functioning even without coins.
And though he's long been retired from AT&T, Dick still works hard as a golf pro at Westbury Country Club in Yukon. He also makes customized golf clubs for his clients.
The Lutzes advice for maintaining a long, happy marriage?
“I tell you it takes a lot of forgiving on a lot of things that you don't know are going to come up,” Edna said.
“I'd hate to say do like I did. Everybody's different,” Dick said. “I don't know whether I would suggest somebody wait until they're about 60 to get married or not.”
It's for their unconditional love and respect for each other that Dick and Edna Lutz were nominated as one of The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative's Inspiring Couples.
Dick and Edna Lutz are featured in the "Oklahoma's Most Inspiring Couples" 2011 calendar, sponsored by the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. Couples featured in the calendar are being profiled in The Oklahoman's Life section. For more about the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative's inspiring couples, go to www.foreverforreal.com.