Dikeman began her career at the Tribune Dec. 1, 1963. She was chosen by Watson Marble, the owner of the paper at the time, from 57 applicants.
Over the years, she has penned human interest, lifestyles and society stories, taken photographs and written a column titled the Kitchen Kabinet in which she shared recipes, homemaker tips and other information. The column ran for 20 years. Her "Memories Spring Eternal" column, one of the Tribune's most popular features, was born in 1997 and has continued ever since. The column is a look back at Tribune stories from 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago that appears each Tuesday through Friday on the Tribune's Editorial/Opinion page.
During the course of the event, Dikeman mixed and mingled with many friends, co-workers and former co-workers at the Tribune office. She also received flowers, corsages, balloons and calls of congratulations.
Bob and Faye Steele have known Dikeman for 50 years "or better."
"She knew your folks longer than that," Bob Steele said, speaking to his wife. "She's a real sweet lady. It just points out that we ... are blessed to have neighbors like Nell and that goes for the whole community -- all of Bourbon County."
Melissa Hulbert, who attended with her husband, Warren, said she's known Dikeman for 35 years. "I attend church with her and my husband knows her the same way. I don't know how she's (done) it this long. Most people would be retired," Melissa said.
Mary Shelden was part of the Alpha Kappa Chapter of ESA, a philanthropic sorority. Dikeman used to snap pictures during their meetings to publicize their activities. "I've probably known Nell for 45 years," Shelden said. "... I love reading her back in time column."
Bernita Hill, who has known Dikeman for five decades, said Nell never meets a stranger and she remembers everything.
Barbara Albright and her mother, Betty Hixon, also attended. Albright has known Dikeman all her life. "Mother and Howard (Nell's late husband) and Nell have been good friends as long as I can remember. Nell's daughter, Linda, and my sister, Judy, were friends. What's funny about mom and Nell is that they're both still working. They're the little old ladies on Main Street that nothing slows down," she said.
Dikeman thought the event turned out quite well. She even received a fresh cheeseburger from John Bowman at Nu Grille, which is another example of why she's loved living in Fort Scott for just over 67 years.
"I was just so blessed to have so many share in such a wonderful occasion. My Tribune family, as each one put his or her best foot forward, I was so impressed and it made me feel wonderful to think I have a family like that," Dikeman said. "... It was just so joyful. ..."
A devotional she received Thursday, which fits in with her column, "Memories Spring Eternal" summed things up: "Memories give the heart something to feed on."