Coon Rapids seniors celebrate 50-plus years of marriage

With love songs, anniversary cake and a grand entrance, 30 couples celebrated being married 50 years or more at an anniversary celebration at the Coon Rapids Senior Center on June 7.

Chet and Marian Dunbar, celebrating 60 years of marriage, step forward to receive flowers from a Gearhart Funeral Home representative (left) and the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days Senior King and Queen Jeanne Wolfgram (right) and Roger Wolfgram. Photo by Bethany Kemming

Chet and Marian Dunbar, celebrating 60 years of marriage, step forward to receive flowers from a Gearhart Funeral Home representative (left) and the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days Senior King and Queen Jeanne Wolfgram (right) and Roger Wolfgram. Photo by Bethany Kemming

Senior Center Coordinator Kris Niebler introduced each couple, including when and where they got married, starting with the “newlyweds” Bill and Jan Davis at 50 years and finishing with Fred and Betty Kobs, who have been married for 65 years.

Couples also received flowers from a Gearhart Funeral Home representative and a certificate of congratulations from the Coon Rapids Snowflake Days Senior King and Queen Roger and Jeanne Wolfgram.

The Wolfgrams were among those celebrating, as they have been married for 51 years.

The couple who have been married the longest, Ken and Camille Sadler at 66 years, were introduced although Ken was unable to attend. Niebler said that although the two are at separate senior care facilities, Camille goes to visit Ken every single day.

The Goldentones Choir Director Betty Orton directed the choir in singing a variety of love songs, including “The Anniversary Song,” “How Deep is the Ocean,” “Perhaps Love,” “Try to Remember,” “Love and Marriage,” “When Your Hair has Turned to Silver” and “I’ll Be Loving You Always.”

“‘Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, you can’t have one without the other’ doesn’t always apply in modern days, but for us this is an appropriate song,” Orton told the couples.

Orton sang “Our Love is Here to Stay” as a solo to her husband Les. The two have been married for 52 years.

Several choir members sang solos and duets, including Jim Miller, who sang “Young at Heart,” and Francis Boeding, who sang “When Your Old Wedding Ring was New.”

Niebler introduced the Kobs and shared with the audience how they met. Fred and Betty met on a blind date, married on Feb. 15, 1947 and honeymooned in Duluth.

While on their honeymoon they went to a restaurant and asked the musicians to sing a song for them.

Betty’s full name is Betty Anne, so the musicians conspired to think of a song with Betty Anne in the lyrics. The best they could come up with was “Who Hit Annie in the Fanny With a Flounder” and that’s been the couple’s song ever since.

When asked what the key to their long marriage was, Fred answered “Yes dear.” For many years the couple both worked in Minneapolis, Fred as a firefighter and Betty as a nurse.

Married a little over a month later on March 22, 1947 were Clark and Betty Cutts. The two were set up as pen pals while Clark was in the service and stationed in San Francisco. They later met in Milwaukee and were married in Wenatchee, Wash.

Ken and Betty Ginn, who have been married for 61 years, described the secret to marriage as “you learn as you go, give and take.”

For Chuck and Iona Rydmark the 50-plus celebration was especially timely as they celebrated their 60th anniversary that day.

Many couples shared the unique stories of how they met.

DeLisle and Irene Minear, married for 63 years, said they met because a friend wanted to use DeLisle’s car to go dancing before Lent started and told DeLisle to bring a date.

The “newlyweds” Bill and Jan Davis, married for 50 years, met on a blind date.

“That was the first big mistake,” Jan joked.

They quickly found out they had a lot of the same interests, including music. Jan currently sings with the Goldentones and Bill plays guitar. The two were married on June 15, 1961.

“I feel like our love is stronger than the problems, that’s how we’ve managed to stay together,” Bill said.

Bethany Kemming is at bethany.kemming@ecm-inc.com


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