The Lubbers legacy

Webster City businessman remembered; Dick Lubbers was known for clothing stores

-Submitted photo
Dick and Barb Lubbers are pictured together. He passed away last fal

WEBSTER CITY — The people who knew Dick Lubbers knew a man of great kindness and integrity.

Some of them gathered recently around a bench in West Twin Park in Webster City that pays homage to the man and two of his many legacies: Lubbers Clothing Store and The Pantry.

Back when dressing up was the thing to do, way back when many men wore suits more often than not, in that oh-so-distant past before Perma-Press and polyester, there on Main Street Webster City was Dick Lubbers and his clothing store.

He wasn’t alone in that business; his father Verne Lubbers had laid the groundwork.

Verne Lubbers returned from World War ll to Webster City in 1945 and became a partner in Lehnard’s Clothing, a dignified store that is long gone. In 1950 he founded Lubber’s Clothing Store.

-Messenger photo by Jane Curtis
David Lubbers, of Webster City, talks about his father, Dick Lubbers, in whose memory friends and former employees purchased a bench for West Twin Park in Webster City. On Oct. 20, many of them gathered to pay tribute to a man who appreciated people and the power of a good suit.

Yet another generation of Lubbers stood before the new bench, talking about the lessons taught by a man who sold clothing.

As his mother, Barb Lubbers, listened, David Lubbers recalled the time Dick Lubbers taught him a tough lesson in humility by defining for him the meaning of “salt of the earth” when a farmer just in from the farm came looking for a suit.

A suit was key to the former ESPN contributor landing a college internship with WHO-TV when he was a young student at Drake University in Des Moines. Less experienced than the other candidates, a colleague confided years later that David Lubbers was the only one wearing a suit.

Dick Lubbers had insisted on it.

On March 8, 1966, a massive fire in the 600 block of downtown Webster City took out three major businesses.

-Submitted photo
The facade of Lubbers Clothing Store is shown. Today it houses Interior Spaces.

One of them was Lubbers Clothing.

But by late October 1966 the new Lubbers Clothing was ready for business.

In its heyday, when young men wore bell bottoms and the polyester leisure suit became a thing, Lubbers shifted gear to serve its evolving clientele with a downstairs designed to be hip. The Pantry was a basement getaway known for its cool looks and cooler workforce.

Some of that workforce gathered around the bench that is now another Dick Lubbers legacy, a loving gesture by former employees and friends who paid for it.

Lubbers closed in 1995 when Dick Lubbers retired; its building houses Interior Spaces now.

It’s been almost a year since he passed away last November, but the memories …

And now that bench.


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