The day started out as nothing more than a regular trip to the dry cleaners, but for Frank Oldt it would soon be his destiny in meeting his future bride.
Jean Besst just happened to be working at her father's dry cleaning business, Besst Dry Cleaners, that January day in 1959 when nineteen year old Frank Oldt walked through the door bringing his mother's coat to be dry cleaned. Neither of them knew that Cupid was watching nearby and about to shoot his famous arrow right at both of their hearts.
Love was bound to happen, as four months after that first day their eyes met, Frank and Jean soon became known as Mr. and Mrs. Frank D. Oldt. An interesting fact about our featured couple is that they both believe in the old saying that age is just a number. Jean being several years older than Frank, laughs when she recalls that when they decided to get married, Frank was too young to get married, being only nineteen years old.
At that time an individual had to be at least twenty-one years old to apply for a marriage license, unless of course they eloped. She says Frank's mother wasn't quite ready to let her son marry, and would not sign the paper to permit him to obtain the license. So the love between them being as strong as it was, won out, thus she and Frank ran off to Cleveland, and Reverend Henry Holyoak united them in holy matrimony on May 16, 1959. Jean also laughingly recalls that their honeymoon night was spent in an attic. Actually, it was an attic room at the lovely home of Jean's friends that resided in Elyria.
Soon, the newly-weds returned to their hometown of Newcomerstown where they resided on Canal Street for nine years, before moving to their next home on Liberty Street. It was in 1972-73 at the Liberty Street residence that a significant idea was born prompting the couple, and others to make the right decision, and soon! It turned out to be a significant undertaking that took two years of perseverance, but is still benefitting the citizens of the Newcomerstown area to this day. The Oldts, along with Donna & Willard Ames, Joann Hannahs, and many other supporters facilitated the beginning for Tri-County Ambulance.
The Port Washington Emergency Squad and trustees from Washington, Salem, and Oxford Townships were also instrumental in the creating of Tri-County Ambulance. Frank being an emergency medical technician (EMT), and instructor later helped the nearby communities of West Lafayette and Coshocton in organizing their emergency squad services.
The idea for Tri-County had stemmed from previous incidents where several individuals living outside the city limits had died while waiting for the only assistance that was available at that time, a very limited resource that severely needed more than it could offer. The Oldt's, Ames's, Hannahs, and the others all wanted to improve the chance of saving of lives, those lives of their rural neighbors. Since that time Tri-County was started, the idea set forth by the Oldt's and the others was finally realized, and today Newcomerstown has two emergency squad services to provide emergency care to Newcomerstown, and vicinity.
Frank was also well-known for his auto body work having had an auto body repair business on Liberty Street for many years. The business moved over to Canal Street in later years before Frank retired.
In 1992, the Oldts moved to Frank's parent's farm on Johnson Hill, and life is never still for long, as both Frank & Jean keep busy. Frank does private contracting for plowing, brush-hogging, tilling gardens, grading, and snow removal. Jean is busy taking care of the daily household tasks, and managing the books for Frank's various jobs. In her spare time, Jean paints ceramics, crochets, sews, collects dogs, mermaids, and horse figurines. They are also the parents of Ike, part Australian Blue Heeler and Bassett Hound. Ike is very protective of his parents, and guards the family home with a vengeance!
The Oldts are members of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, having been dedicated members for the past thirty years. Jean is involved with the prayer shawl group at St. Paul and has created a mile or more of beautiful, color coordinated shawls that are given to members of the church, and others in the community that are experiencing adverse events in their lives. Jean puts forth much effort, and is meticulous in her work, each shawl is specially created for the individual. Frank shares the teaching duties of the adult Sunday school class at St. Paul.
Frank D. Oldt is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. (Rosa Lee Allen) Oldt. Frank's father and two aunts were born in China, living there until young adulthood. Frank's grandfather, Dr. Frank Oldt was a missionary for the U.B. Church. Frank D. was born in Muskingum County, the family, also consisting of Frank's brother and two sisters, moved to Newcomerstown when Frank was three years old. His father relocated the family to accept a position at the former Heller Tool Company.
Jean, also known to her closest friends as Jeanie, was the only child of the late Mr. and Mrs. Leslie (Ada Firman) Besst. Jean's mother passed away when Jean was only fifteen years old. Her father later remarried to Alice (Decker) Hootman. Jean's father owned Besst Dry Cleaners that was formerly located on Canal Street, next to the post office. He also was a member of the Newcomerstown Fire Department, and helped establish the original Newcomerstown Rescue Team.
He was a Newcomerstown school board member for a number of years, a member of the Newcomerstown Masons, and a free-lance photographer.
He also collected antiques, something that also became an interest of Jean's in later years.
Jean said one of the successes of their fifty-six years together is that they have always agreed on two things, money and religion. The rest of their success is based on their enduring love for each other.