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Man Planning Marriage Finds Name Change Enmeshed In Court Tangle

June 10, 1985 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Michael Herbert Dengler, who has spent the last 10 years trying to change his name to 1069, plans to get married June 22, and is now seeking a different name - Michael IO Holtz.

While Dengler avoids reporters, a background memo he prepared says the name switch will pave the way for his marriage to Debra Hutchinson.

″The chosen name has historical connections to the families of One Zero and his fiance,″ said the memo, handed out Monday as Dengler took his case before Hennepin County District Judge Eugene Minenko. It did not further explain the connections.


Minenko took the case under advisement, but said he would try to rule in time for Dengler, a substitute school teacher, to go ahead with his marriage plans.

Dengler began trying to change his name officially to 1069 in 1976 after moving from Fargo, N.D., to Minneapolis. A judge denied the application in 1978 and the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

His request also had been denied by supreme courts in Michigan and North Dakota. Judges ruled a number for a name is too confusing and could lead to similar requests from others.

Dengler explained to judges that the numbers bear special significance to him. The 1 is for nature, the individual person; 0 relates to time and movement through life; 6 stands for the universe and a person’s relation to it, and 9 means essence, as the other digits wrap up his philosophy.

And he says the pronunciation is important: it’s one-zero-six-nine, not, for instance, ten-sixty-nine.

When Dengler applied for a marriage license recently, using 1069, the clerk declined to accept it. Dengler then petitioned the court to change his name from 1069 to Michael IO Holtz.

In court Monday, Minenko said that if Dengler was successful, it would be a ″mockery″ of the judicial system. He said Dengler was trying to accomplish what he hadn’t been able to accomplish earlier.

Dengler, who’s listed in the phone book as 1069, called witnesses Monday to establish that he’s been known as 1069 among friends for years.

″I’ve known 1069 approximately 22 months. We rent in the same apartment building,″ said Joseph Woodside. ″I’ve never known him nor called him by any other name since then.″

Richard L. Amani said he ″first met 1069 in Fargo, N.D., and we became close friends when I moved to Minneapolis in 1979.″

Dengler left court quickly after the hearing and declined to speak with reporters.

Woodside told reporters that Dengler was extremely distraught at the publicity he’d attracted. ″He’s sought to avoid the press.″

He described Dengler as ″a very talented guy″ who enjoyed teaching social studies and economics at junior and senior high levels in three schools. The kids call him 1069, Woodside said.

Woodside said he understands the IO stand for Latin equivalents, as near as he could figure, of the first two numbers in his once-preferred name, 1069.

″And I understand Holtz refers to a German composer,″ said Woodside, who works in the environmental health office of the university’s division of public health.

A check with the Minneapolis Public Library, however, failed to come up with a clue.

″As far as German composers are concerned, there is no famous one by that last name, although there’s an Anton Holtzner, a German organist and composer of the early 17th Century,″ said a librarian consulting Baker’s Biographical Dictionary.

The librarian said the closest reference to Holtz was Gustav Holst, a British composer who wrote several operas and orchestral suites.