FOSTORIA - David and Lois Zoll have been married 62 years. David grew up in Tiffin, while Lois lived in rural Seneca County, near Bascom. They met at Heidelberg College, where both were studying to be teachers, David in music and Lois in special education and business. Both are retired now and reside in Fostoria, where they volunteer for several causes.
"We've moved a lot, but we've been here for 30 years now," Lois said.
The pair received Ohio Department of Aging's Joined Hearts in Giving award for their volunteerism, along with 16 other Ohio couples. Karen Kasich, wife of Gov. John Kasich, hosted a reception Valentine's Day at the governor's residence in Columbus.
"These couples embody a level of commitment that should be celebrated," said Mrs. Kasich. "Both as devoted spouses and volunteers, these 'Joined Hearts in Giving' are role models for us all."
While still college, David directed a church choir. His first teaching job was at Arlington, where he taught vocal and instrumental music at all levels. He remembered a fifth-grader who wanted to play taps on his trumpet, so that was the first piece David helped him to learn. At Delphos, David was responsible only for instrumental music. His major was trombone, but he plays every instrument.
"I learned a lot teaching. I probably learned more in the field than I did in school. I learned instrument repair," David said.
Recently, another man who had played in the Columbian High School band with David called to say hello. The man now lives at Autumnwood, but the two men have not seen one another since graduation. Music remains important to David. A U.S. Army veteran, David is the bugler for military honors at veterans' funerals, through Fostoria United Veterans. He also is a trustee for the Fostoria American Legion.
For several years, Lois was an adult reading tutor, using the Laubach method. The classes met at their church, First Presbyterian in Fostoria, and later moved to Longfellow Elementary. Lois changed careers from teaching to office manager at a local medical office. Her brother was her first boss. When he retired, she stayed on to work for his successor.
"When we moved to Fostoria, my brother was a GP (general practitioner) in Fostoria. He needed somebody in the office. I had a degree in business education, so I worked for him at the office," Lois said.
At First Presbyterian, David sang in the choir for 38 years. Now active on the church's mission committee, he and Lois started a new project last year, making and selling "hundreds of cookies" and other baked goods to raise funds for mission projects. The Zolls and two other women did most of the baking, with occasional help from the congregation. They plan to continue the effort once a month this summer.
"We wanted to make money for the missions, so we decided we would join the Farmers' Market ... There were four of us that basically did it," Lois said.
"It was very successful. We sold out every time," David said.
Fourteen years ago, the church started the Feed My Kids program during the summer, when school lunches were not available. The Zolls have been regular volunteers since its inception. In 2011, the program served nearly 3,000 free lunches to needy families every Tuesday and Thursday during summer break. The Zolls raise money, buy the food and set the menus. They have a crew of volunteers that help prepare and serve the meals.
Last year, they started purchasing food from the West Ohio Food Bank. Lois had to take a test to be eligible to make purchases there. David said meat is only 18 cents a pound, while other items are 10 cents a pound. Two freezers and two refrigerators at the church store all the supplies.
"We have to go down to Lima and pick up food," David said. "We just pull up and open the trunk, and they load us up."
"It has saved us hundreds of dollars," Lois said, "and every one of them is so nice, so helpful."
Usually, Feed My Kids participants get a hot entree, some kind of salad or side dish and a dessert. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are "always" on the menu for those who don't care for the main dish. Milk also is a staple. Food not used for the lunches is given to The Salvation Army. June 9 is first day for Feed My Kids this year.
"It's a lot of fun. We're looking forward to it already," Lois said.
When spaghetti is served, the pizza restaurants in Fostoria donate bread sticks. For sandwich bread and buns, the Zolls visit the Wonder Bread outlet in Toledo. De Fratelli also donates tomato products from the company's Toledo warehouse. The couple has learned to make adjustments when a food item is not well-received.
"For years, we had carrot and celery sticks, but they wouldn't eat them. But we added dip. Now they love those," Lois said. "We would never allow them, in the 14 years we've done this, to have candy - but they had a huge box of M&Ms, which we took. So when the kids left, they each got a bag."
"After they'd eaten, I was stationed at the door," David said.
At Thanksgiving, the food bank had turkeys available. The mission committee was able to purchase enough to make Christmas baskets for several local families. The mission committee also assists Feed My Kids.
Once a month, Lois volunteers for an afternoon in the gift shop at Good Shepherd Home, and she serves on the home's board. She and David complete a Meals on Wheels route every Monday for 12-14 people. Lois joined him three or four years ago. David drives and she takes the food to the doors.
"Dave started about 20 years ago with gentleman that was 20 years older than he was ... When he went in to a rest home, Dave took over," Lois said.
The Zolls are no strangers to the computer. Lois likes to keep track of her bank balance online. David enjoys various music sites, solitaire and a nutritional site that helps him track his carbohydrate intake. The computer also keeps the couple in touch with their two sons, two daughters, six grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and three stepgreat-grandchildren.
The couple often travels to Cleveland, Toledo and Ontario, Canada, for graduations, weddings and sporting events. Lois said any excuse is enough for family get-togethers.
"One of our major projects every year with the family is March Madness. I'm the commissioner. They come out with the tournament things, they all fill them out and send them to me. Then we have a traveling trophy," David said.
"We have really been blessed," Lois concluded.