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    The 2013 Middlebury Summer Festival Parade Grand Marshals are Dick and Jolinda Zook
     
     

    On a summer evening, it’s not unusual to find an assortment of friends and family members on the back porch of the Zook’s house.  The younger ones swim.  The older ones sit around the table and listen to Dick’s funny stories.  If you are one of Jolinda’s children or grandchildren, it’s not unusual to get a random text message from her in the middle of the day with a question or a description of a something she just saw that made her think of them,  complete with emojis. 

    Jolinda Ellis and Dick Zook became acquaintances while attending eighth grade at Concord Junior High School.  During their junior year of high school, Dick’s family moved to Florida.  Dick graduated from Martin County High School in Stuart, Florida and Jolinda graduated from Concord High School.  In 1959, both were back in Elkhart for summer break after their freshman year of college.  Jolinda was dating another young man and had a friend visiting from college.  The other young man asked Dick if he would join them on a double date, and Dick agreed to a blind date with Jolinda’s friend.  On the double date, Dick realized that he was interested in Jolinda, so the next day he called her up and asked if she wanted to go out that weekend.  Jolinda said that she was busy both Friday and Saturday nights.  Dick asked when she wasn’t busy, and Jolinda replied that she was free that very same night.  They married in 1960 and {are celebrating} their 53rd wedding anniversary on June 17.

                In 1966, the Zooks moved from Elkhart to Middlebury and lived in a house that Dick built at Hunter Lake.  They raised their three children in Middlebury:  Dilynn, Jill, and Rob.  Dick was in the concrete business until 1973.  He had poured some concrete decks for the owner of a pool business in Elkhart, and was later asked to start putting in swimming pools.  In 1973, Dick bought the building in Elkhart where he started Backyard Pools.  Right after starting Backyard Pools, interest rates skyrocketed to twenty percent and the Zooks worried that they would not sell any pools during their first year in business.  To their surprise, in that first year Dick sold twenty-two pools and his crew was busy putting in pools all summer long!  During their years owning Backyard Pools, the Zooks enjoyed traveling on trips that they won with the pool business.  In 1989, they sold Backyard Pools to Jeff and Becky Heign (formerly of Middlebury) and the Heign’s still own Backyard Pools.

                Settling in Middlebury seemed to be destiny for the Zooks.  Jolinda recalls her first trip to Middlebury.  She was in high school and had not realized that Middlebury even existed.  It reminded her of the quaint small town in a movie that Jolinda had recently seen, starring Lana Turner as a gift shop owner.  Jolinda remembers coming down the hill into Middlebury and thinking “What a beautiful little town.  How neat would it be to own a gift shop here, just like in the movie?”  In May, 1989 after selling the pool business, the Zooks opened The Cinnamon Stick, a gift shop on Main Street in downtown Middlebury.  Jolinda reflects, “It was meant to be.”

    Jolinda also remembers driving young Dilynn and Jill to kindergarten at the Methodist Church on Main Street from their home at Hunter Lake.  “I used to park my car facing the Victorian house behind the church so that I could look at that house.  I sat and wondered what it looked like on the inside.”  In 1983, the Zooks moved from Hunter Lake to that old Victorian that they still call home at 201 West Lawrence.

                Dick and Jolinda have made many friends in Middlebury over the years.

    Dick was a charter member of the Middlebury JayCees.  The couple was also active in the Middlebury Merchants (the forerunner of the Middlebury Chamber of Commerce) and the Crystal Valley Tourist Association.  They have fun memories of going to the dances that were held above what is now the Winner’s Circle.  Dick has enjoyed being one of the regular customers at the Village Inn for breakfast and coffee for many years.   They list “going out to eat with friends” as one of their favorite things to do.

                In 2005, the Zooks retired and sold The Cinnamon Stick to Levi and Joanna King.  These days, Jolinda loves drawing, painting, reading, and working in the flowers.  Dick enjoys working in the yard and keeping up the house, but their favorite pastime is sitting on the front porch swing and talking with neighbors as they go by.  The Zooks attend Crossroads Community Church.  They also love spending time with their family.  Jolinda notes “Middlebury has been a wonderful place to raise our family because of the strong sense of community the people have.”

                The Zooks say that they feel blessed to have most of their family close by.  Jolinda’s mother, Essie Ellis, lives in Middlebury.  The Zook’s children Dilynn, Jill, and Rob all graduated from Northridge High School.  Dilynn and her husband Greg (Puckett) own “Language Art” and live in Middlebury.  Jill (Adams) is a mortgage broker and living in Chicago.  Their son Rob (the principal at Concord Junior High School) and his wife Amy (the nurse at Northridge Middle School) live in Middlebury.  Dick and Jolinda also have six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  Their granddaughter Amber is married to Jason Miller and they live in Middlebury.  Amber and Jason are graduates of Northridge High School and Ball State University and have four children.  The Zook’s granddaughter Andrea Puckett is also an NHS and BSU graduate and lives in Brooklyn, NY.  Their grandson Trevor Troyer is an NHS and Butler graduate and lives in Elkhart.  Their grandson Casey Troyer is an NHS, Butler, and Indiana University Law graduate and lives in Elkhart.  Their granddaughter Hanna Zook will be a junior at NHS this year.  Their granddaughter Abby Zook will be a freshman at NHS this year.  The Zook’s oldest great-grandson just completed kindergarten at Middlebury Elementary School.  Dick says of their kids and grandkids “they make us proud.”

    We’d say that Middlebury is pretty lucky to have these two. 
               
    Interested in entering a unit in the parade?
    See below to download application, map and information for parade entries
     
    To complete the application, first download the file to your computer by clicking the blue down-arrow to the right, then save it to
    a place on your computer where you can easily find it (either My Documents or Desktop is recommended) then either:
      • complete all info and send as an attachment to: parade@middleburyfestivals.com, or
      • print out form and deliver it to the Middlebury Fire Department. Contact info is on the bottom of the application.
     

     
          
     
     
       
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    MSF Marketing,
    Jun 21, 2013, 11:42 AM
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    MSF Marketing,
    Jun 21, 2013, 11:43 AM
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    MSF Marketing,
    Jun 21, 2013, 11:43 AM