Sweethearts dine at Park River Estates

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Married residents at Park River Estates Care Center in Coon Rapids were invited to bring their spouses to the center’s annual sweetheart dinner Feb. 9.

Park River Estates resident Bob Hastings shares a tender moment with his wife of 60 years, Marian Hastings. Photos by Olivia Alveshere
Park River Estates resident Bob Hastings shares a tender moment with his wife of 60 years, Marian Hastings. Photos by Olivia Alveshere

Because residents are unable to leave for date night on Valentine’s Day, Park River Estates staff hosts a special afternoon for them, complete with a gourmet meal.

The chapel was filled with roses, and the champaign was flowing as couples enjoyed rib eye steaks, grilled by Park River Estates Administrator Tom Pollock; twice-baked potatoes; carrots and cake.

Seventeen couples were invited to the soiree. This year only one husband-wife pair were both living at Park River Estates.

Singer, songwriter and pianist Lynn Brownell traveled from Bloomington to serenade couples with love songs. When plates were being cleared, many sang along to familiar tunes and one woman even got up to show off her fancy footwork.

Many couples in attendance have celebrated more than 50 years of marriage.

Patience, kindness and love were qualities Joyce Thor was looking for in a spouse, and she found them in her husband of 51 years, Shorty Thor.

Bob and Marian Hastings have been married 60 years, and the secret to their success has been being best friends first, they said.

“Just remember to communicate, communicate, communicate,” Marian Hastings said.

A second Valentine’s Day tradition came the following day when the King and Queen of Hearts were announced.

Will and Eleanor Swanson, married 73 years, were crowned during the coronation ceremony Feb. 10.

The coronation has been a tradition at Park River Estates since the late 1970s.

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Rib eye steak, twice-baked potatoes and carrots were on the menu for the annual sweetheart dinner for married couples at Park River Estates Care Center in Coon Rapids. Seventeen couples were treated to a fine dining experience at Park River Estates Care Center Feb. 9. A Valentine’s meal for married couples is a tradition at the center. Lynn Brownell serenades couples with love songs. Park River Estates resident Bob Hastings shares a tender moment with his wife of 60 years, Marian Hastings. Joyce Thor reaches for her husband Shorty Thor’s hand during the sweetheart dinner at Park River Estates, where Shorty is a resident. Eight tables were set up in the chapel at Park River Estates Care Center so that married residents could enjoy a Valentine’s meal with their spouses.
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Seventeen couples were treated to a fine dining experience at Park River Estates Care Center Feb. 9. A Valentine’s meal for married couples is a tradition at the center.