By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
March 25, 2006
It was a warm Sunday afternoon in the fall of 2004 and Hoby Streich decided to call his longtime friend, Linda Rouches, and invite her to lunch.
Rouches, who was just leaving Riverside Community Church, readily accepted the spontaneous offer. However, she mistakenly thought her “good buddy” of 23 years would be taking her to a local restaurant.
Instead, Streich, a pilot, flew her to Sun River for the meal. Accompanying them was Rouches’ English Sheep Dog, Bayly, and his mixed-breed canine named Modi.
“The weather was beautiful, the flight was good and the dogs got along — it was just a natural fit,” said Streich.
He then began to seek out Rouches for other social outings with greater frequency. Streich, one of the city’s most eligible bachelors, and Rouches, a widow with three grown children, were surprised to find that their courtship quickly caught the public eye.
The Hood River residents had not thought to factor their respective high-profile positions into the budding romance.
Streich serves as an elected port commissioner and, in January of 2005, Rouches assumed the duties of mayor after years as a city councilor. Streich also owns Cascade Market and Rouches is the proprietor of PBS (Professional Business Solutions).
Streich and Rouches were astonished to have people refer to them as a “power couple” when they began dating. Their focus was not to create a public persona, but to spend as much alone time together as two busy schedules allowed.
“We’ve had a lot of people tease us by saying, ‘Who says the port and city can’t get along?’ But we really keep our respective political business separate from our personal lives,” she said.
On Feb. 28, Linda became Mrs. Hoby Streich in a “fairy tale” wedding on a tropical beach in Costa Rica. Hoby kissed his new bride just as the sun dipped into the horizon that evening.
The newlyweds are now back at home on Lincoln Street with a glow from their honeymoon tan — and obvious devotion to each other.
“Everything that I’ve always hoped for has come true. I drive into the garage each evening and when I open the door to go upstairs I hear, ‘Hi honey,’ and that is just a really good feeling,” said Hoby.
Linda proudly flashes her platinum engagement ring with its sparkling diamonds that Apland Jewelers and Hoby conspired to design.
In addition to the wedding set, Linda is also sporting a diamond anniversary band. Hoby had intended to wait a year before presenting her with the luxurious gift. But, he was so excited about having her for a life partner that he slipped the ring on her finger during their wedding night.
Hoby’s proposal is one of their favorite memories — especially because of the weeks that he spent building up her anticipation.
He originally wanted to pop the question at his birthday party in mid-December — but a bowling alley full of people didn’t seem like the right setting. Linda expected him to make the offer at Christmas, but once again, there was always a large crowd around.
She knew that the marriage proposal would come someday because Hoby kept flashing the ring box — but refusing to show her the contents. Meanwhile, the couple had already decided that February would be a good time to get married because business was slower so they could be away longer.
“After Christmas I started asking him if we were going to get engaged before we got married,” said Linda.
“I just told her that I would yell the question to her as she was walking down the aisle,” he replied.
On New Year’s Eve, Hoby turned to Linda and said, “This is our time,” so she knew the moment had finally arrived. Just before the last midnight of 2005 he asked her to become his wife — but told her to hold off on her reply for a few minutes.
“I wanted to be able to say that I had asked her one year and she had kept me waiting until the next year before she said ‘yes,’” Hoby said.
He looks down at his matching platinum wedding band, inset with six diamonds, and smiles softly.
“There are times when I wake up in the morning and almost want to pinch myself and ask, “Can this be true?” Hoby said.
Humor pervades many of the Streichs’ interactions. During this interview, Linda has been munching on a gourmet candy and threatens to leave a chocolate kiss on Hoby’s ear during the photo shoot.
She also claims to have accepted his proposal because she always fantasized about marrying the driver of an ice cream truck — but Hoby was the next best thing since his store has a display case full of frozen treats.
“We laugh a lot. When Hoby gets home there’s a lot of joy,” she said.
Hoby refuses to accept a piece of candy after Linda laughingly says that her biggest adjustment to marriage has been feeding a man who “eats enough for three people.”
“I’m starting to get a complex here,” he said.
All joking aside, the days are long and full of hard work in a household that juggles two public offices and a pair of businesses. The Streichs’ desks are placed side by side so they can still spend time together while individually reviewing a never-ending stack of paperwork.
“I know that he’s got responsibilities and he knows that I’ve got responsibilities and we just support each other,” said Linda. “We have an absolutely charmed life, it’s just been amazing.”
“The best part of our life together is that it is pretty simplistic, it’s nothing flashy,” said Hoby.
Tonight, the Streichs will celebrate their marriage at a private party with a tropical theme. They have invited friends and family members to share the joy that entered their lives during an impromptu plane trip to Central Oregon.