UD Love Stories 2018: Arlo and Doreen Duba

Feb 7, 2018

No one believes in love at first sight until that special person comes along and steals your heart.


In the Fall of 1950, Arlo Duba (C'52) was working as a guide on a bus tour for new students when Doreen Eckles (C'54) first saw him. Doreen said she remembers thinking that the man on that bus had the most beautiful blue eyes. Fate - and new jobs in Peters Commons Dining Hall - brought the strangers together soon after.

As part of their dinner service preparations, servers were required to set the tables family style. One day, Arlo arrived late to work and noticed his tables were already set. He asked his supervisor, Marge Kremer, who set his tables. She told him "that little freshman girl over there." Arlo figured it was the perfect time to get acquainted with Doreen and thank her for setting his tables. Being a Phi-O, Arlo asked Doreen to be his guest at an upcoming fraternity event. That question in October 1950 led to their first date.

"We started going steady right away, and we are still going steady," Arlo said.

The pair enjoyed their time spent together on campus with friends. That time, however, was not spent in the dorms. Arlo lived in Steffens Hall and Doreen lived in Severance Hall, a women's dorm where Arlo was not allowed to enter.

"Instead of buzzing for me at the front desk, he used a special whistle outside my window to get me to come outside to meet him," Doreen said.

During the next school break, Arlo decided to stop by Doreen's parents' farm on his way back to Dubuque from South Dakota. The couple thought it would be the perfect time for Arlo to meet Doreen's parents, who lived in Aplington, Iowa. It seemed like a great plan, until Doreen's 5-year-old brother opened the door and said, "Are you Arlo or are you Bert?" This was not the welcome Arlo was expecting, as Bert was Doreen's old high school boyfriend!

Back at UD, Arlo and Doreen's bond grew stronger. Arlo finished his religion and music degree and graduated in 1952. That fall, he enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary. Meanwhile, Doreen finished her studies with a major in Christian education and a minor in elementary education. She graduated in June 1954 with a lot of excitement as her wedding plans were about to come to fruition.

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The two became Mr. and Mrs. Duba on June 18, 1954, in Aplington. Doreen's wedding gown was made by her mother. One hundred people gathered at the reception to help the newlyweds celebrate. It was a wonderful evening filled with lots of love, family and friends including fellow UD alums, Grace (Geerdes) Hodgson (C'54), Doreen's roommate, who was a bridesmaid, Durwood Busse (C’52, MDiv’55) was a groomsman, and Marian (Sessler) Hoffman (C’55) sang at the ceremony. Doreen's most treasured memory from the wedding day was when Arlo sang the Song of Ruth, "Entreat Me Not to Leave Thee." Immediately after the wedding, Arlo and Doreen went to the Pocono Mountains, a popular vacation destination in Pennsylvania. There, Arlo spent the summer singing with the Parsons Quartet, which consisted of four seminary students. They enjoyed their time in the Pocono Mountains. For Arlo and Doreen, it was as if their honeymoon lasted all summer long.

Interestingly, Doreen's sister, Donna Eckles (C'58), attended the University of Dubuque, where she met her husband, B.J. Ukena (C'56). Their son, Larry Ukena (C'88), also enrolled at UD.

Arlo graduated from Princeton Seminary in 1955 and completed his doctorate in 1960. During this time, Doreen was a third grade teacher. The couple have four children - Paul, Bruce, John and Anne.

Arlo taught at Westminster Choir College in Princeton from 1960 to 1968, then in 1968, he took a year sabbatical in Paris with his family. Their boys learned how to speak French, and the family enjoyed exploring the city. While teaching worship at Princeton Seminary from 1969 to 1982, Arlo gave a lecture series in Taiwan, Indonesia, and India. In 1982, Arlo became the dean of seminary at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He also taught courses in worship while Doreen was a computer programmer at CyCare in Dubuque. During this time, their son John (C'86), began his college career at UD studying aviation management. Following in his parents' footsteps, John met his wife-to-be, Carolyn Kevern (C'87), at UD.

Currently, Arlo and Doreen own a home in Princeton Windrows, New Jersey, where they enjoy all of the social benefits that come with living in a retirement community. The two like to stay busy. Doreen has been the chair of the Library Committee for many years, while Arlo served as the chair of the Landscaping Committee. He stepped down to focus on his writing. Arlo has published books and articles about worship, including Presbyterian Worship in the Twentieth Century with a focus on the Book of Common Worship. At 88, Arlo is working on another book and hopes to get it published.

The couple enjoys spending time with their children and seven grandchildren. They are looking forward to celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary in June 2018.

What's the secret to a long and happy marriage? Well, Arlo said it best, "We were in love at UD, and we are still very much in love."

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