We have the privilege of sharing time with some truly fascinating seniors. During Valentine’s Day this year, we realized how many couples we have living together in many of our Traditions communities.
Their love stories are interesting, funny, surprising and always inspiring. They were kind enough to tell us a bit more about how they met, how long they’ve been together, and their secrets to a successful marriage.
We wanted to share some of their stories.
Billie and Gene Evans
Billie and Gene Evans celebrated their 61st Anniversary on August 14th this past year. The two met at Union Hospital in Terra Haute. Gene was a student at Indiana State and Billie was an employee at Union Hospital where Gene also worked. After these wonderful 61 years together, Gene said his favorite thing about Billie is her patience with him. Their favorite thing to do together was travel. They have gone to many different places including France and England. Billie and Gene went on to have four beautiful children together. Today they love to relax and watch TV together and Gene enjoys singing Billie’s favorite songs to her during our Happy Hour.
Bill and Judie Kleinschmidt
Bill and Judie Kleinschmidt are High School Sweethearts. The two met while attending the same grade at Hem High School in 1954. In a school of approximately 2,000 students, Judie still caught his eye almost immediately as she was pretty, popular, and nice to everyone. The two had a corresponding lunch hour and the rest was history. They attended the freshman dance together, enjoyed going to the movies, and loved bowling. Judie lived about a mile and a half from Bill and seeing he was still not old enough to get his drivers license, he walked to her home to pick her up and take her on a date, then walked her home before returning another mile and a half back to his house. He said he specifically remembers walking home down the middle of the road singing, as each date he spent with Judie was a great one. After 10 years of dating and building up the courage to ask Judie to marry him, Bill proposed during Christmas by placing the engagement ring inside a box of new bowling shoes and a new bowling ball. They cherished bowling, so this was only fitting that he proposed while incorporating their favorite date to do together. The two are very happily married with three children, Amy, Billy, and Brad.
Gene and Nancy McPherson
Gene and Nancy McPherson celebrated 67 years of marriage in 2020. The two met in their early 20’s and had been introduced by a mutual friend. It was a ‘blind date,’ as Gene put it. His friend sat him down, pointed at Nancy, and whispered, “This is why you are here.” Gene said it was love at first sight. They met in March of 1953, were engaged three weeks after they met and formally married three months later in June. They went on to have two children together, Lynne and Scott. Gene and Nancy spent many of their married years traveling together. They went on African safaris, rode elephants and camels in India, and spent time in China and Russia along with many other countries. When asked what their favorite thing about each other was Gene quickly said, “I love that she loved me even though I couldn’t dance.” Nancy laughed and agreed that he in fact was not a great dancer, but she loved him anyway. Nancy’s favorite thing about Gene is, “the way he thinks about others.”
Dr. Allan & Marge Brisker
Dr. Allan & Marge Brisker have been married for 69 years. They met when they were both students at UC. She was in nursing school and he was in medical school. Margorie was a blind date, as the other girl could not go out that evening and sent Marge in her place. Dr. Brisker and Marge dated for about a year and married in Lawrenceburg, Indiana in 1952 for $35. According to Dr. Allan and Marge the key to a successful marriage is arguing and always making up.
Ted and Sandy Clark
Ted and Sandy Clark will be celebrated 61 years of marriage on February 13 of this year. Ted graduated from UD and began working at NCR where Sandy worked as a secretary. Ted’s boss played matchmaker by sending Ted on ‘errands’ that involved Sandy. They married about a year-and-a-half after meeting. They love sharing the story that Sandy taught Ted how to drive.
Their personalities have complimented each other well over the years. They laugh a lot and can often be seen holding hands across the dinner table. Ted is always the gentleman holding doors for Sandy and pulling out her chair.
Jim and Rose Walters
Jim and I met in June of 1956. My girlfriend and I were sitting on the front steps of my parents’ home. Two boys drove by, and the rest is history. We dated two-and-a-half years and married in January of 1959. We have five children, sixteen grandchildren, four in-law grandkids and six great grandkids. We’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Four of our kids live near us, as well as most of the grandkids. One of our sons lives in Ohio with his four kids and four grandkids. We had a nice life together and have been truly blessed.
Wendell and Betty Heller
The Heller’s love story began when Wendell decided to send Betty a note after he saw her cheerleading at Bob Jones. After their first date, the following Friday, ‘that was it’ for both of them, and the Hellers have been together ever since. They continued to pass notes and write each other letters until they were married.
The Hellers have been happily married for 69 years and counting. They raised a wonderful family, traveled the world, and even started the Colonial Baptist Church here in Indianapolis. Their secrets? Do not fight and fuss. Never go to bed angry. And remember that the golden rule is still good after all these years. They love each other even more now than they did 69 years ago and remind each other that they love the other ‘a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.’
Jack and Sara Kirby
In 1963, Sara was working at IBM in Evanston, IL, her hometown as well as the hometown of Jack. Jack had just completed his Master’s degree in history from the University of Michigan and was working as a social worker for the city of Chicago. He was still deciding if he would go to law school or pursue further graduate studies in history. In Sara’s office, people joked that IBM stood for ‘I’ll Be Moving.’ However, the moving would come later. That year would become a departure point for both Sara and Jack.
They knew each other during their high school days— she was a cheerleader, and he was co-captain of the football team. But their love story did not start there. It was about ten years later, in a local pizzeria that they would make a personal connection and begin ‘moving together’ for the next 57 years. From an apartment in Chicago, a year in Florida, two years in Denver, then the University of Illinois, and, in 1971, Granville, Ohio. Sara completed her degree in education, and they settled into their teaching jobs and family. The family consisted of four children, three cats, five dogs, and an assortment of fish and rodents. Ultimately, the children have kept them on the move between college and travels, including Europe, Asia, and much of the US. In late 2019, out of breath, they made a final move to Middleton, which immediately felt like home. It was ultimately (after the trauma of downsizing) an easy move, allowing them to remain in Granville and near all that they had loved since 1971.
Bill and Virginia Baker
Their story is a true testament of love through the test of time. Bill and Virginia Baker met in high school when they were both 16 years old. They had their first date at a football game in Martins Perry, Ohio. They were married on January 26, 1946. In the span of their long and loving relationship, they enjoyed dancing and taking trips with their six children. Last month, Bill and Virginia celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary at Middleton! They say happiness is growing old together with the love of your life. Bill and Virginia have been together since their teenage years and have essentially grown up together and grown old together! Now that’s what we call a ‘forever love.’
Bob and Barb Lewis
Bob and Barb’s campus love story started at the Salem College in West Virginia where they were both enrolled. Bob was a 20-year-old student from Carnegie, Pennsylvania and Barb was a sweet 18 freshman from Harrisville, West Virginia. Their first date was a nice, romantic walk in September of 1949. Two years later, they were married in Harrisville Methodist Church on December 15, 1951.
Bob and Barb enjoyed taking vacations. Early in their marriage, most of their vacations were spent visiting their parents because they had very little money. They were eventually able to venture out and take a trip to England, Scotland, and Wales, where they rented a car, drove everywhere and made lasting memories. They have been married for 69 years! Bob and Barb said the keys to their successful marriage are compromising and focusing on the good. They have been at Middleton since August 2020.
Ray and Betty Thompson
A classic story of young love and growing old together! Ray and Betty were both 18 when they first met, and on one Saturday night, went to a restaurant for their first date. They enjoyed picture shows on the side of the schoolhouse. They were married in 1947 in Greenup, Kentucky. Betty had a restaurant called “Pine Bluff” and Ray worked in the oil wells. They lived simply and enjoyed the small things. They said they loved one another and have been good to each other and that is the secret for their long and happy marriage. They have been residents of Middleton since December 2018.
Mel and Dee Hayes
Mel and Dee are both from Akron, Ohio. Their first date was at a drive-in theater in the summer of 1951. They got married at the Calvary EUB Church on May 22, 1955 and have been together for 65 years. For them, the keys to a happy marriage are partnership with a give and take relationship and having Christ in the center. They enjoy church events, movies and going to the racetracks. Their best memories together are their trips to Israel, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, England, Ireland, France, Scotland, Jamaica, and Mexico. Mel and Dee have been at Middleton since June 2019.
Ray and Irene Arras
It was love at first sight for Ray the day he laid eyes on Irene in 1965. He was 25 and she was 23. Irene caught his attention from afar, but Ray was too afraid to ask her for a dance, so he let that first chance pass him by. Ray could not believe his luck when he saw her again at another social gathering. This time he mustered enough courage to approach Irene, introduce himself, and ask her to dance with him. That was the beginning of their beautiful relationship. They went on their first date on July 15th, 1965 at a Chinese Restaurant in El Paso, Texas. The inseparable pair also loved to go dancing, horseback riding, and shopping together. Their road to forever took two years, 9 months, and 14 days from the time they first met. Ray and Irene tied the knot at St. Guadalupe Church in El Paso on July 21st, 1967. For Mr. and Mrs. Arras, the key to a successful marriage is a strong foundation. Ray is also a strong proponent of the “Yes, dear” movement. They moved to Middleton in the summer of 2020.
John and Carol Denison
A handsome 27-year-old from Takoma Park, Maryland, John found his true love in a bank in the quaint, small town of Newark, Ohio. It all started when John went to Park National Bank to open a new account. He worked for Owens Corning and was recently transferred from Toledo to the Newark location. John had just gotten his first paycheck and went straight to the bank. He thought that the bank teller was beautiful. Carol Jones was just 22 and fresh out of college. He told himself, “I’m going to go up to her window.” At that time there were no snake lines, and customers could pick a teller. Every payday after that, John would go to Carol’s window, but they did not really interact beyond bank transactions.
John was new in town and did not have any credit, nor did he know anyone. So, when he wanted to apply for a Bank Americard and the person in charge asked him if he knew anyone, John said he knew Carol Jones, a teller. The card manager asked Carol if she knew John and she said she didn’t know him too well, but would like to get to know him better. That fateful day, John not only got a Bank Americard, he got the chance to take Carol out.
On their first date sometime in August of 1967, they went to a Chad Everett war movie, "First to Fight," at the old Auditorium Theater in downtown Newark. After the movie, they had burgers at Freschia’s Drive-in where they sat in the car and talked. Their favorite memory while dating is listening to the beautiful song “The Impossible Dream” by Andy Williams on the phone while Carol was in her apartment and John was in his house. John and Carol were married at the First United Methodist in Carol’s hometown in January of 1968. They have shared 53 years of marital bliss. For them, the keys to a happy marriage are investing in their relationship, banking on trust, lots of laughter, and the wife is always right! They moved to Middleton at the start of 2018.
Bonnie Sevastos and David Priest
It was love in the most unusual circumstances. David and Bonnie met in February 2013 at the Columbus airport when Bonnie flew in from Florida to purchase David’s ex-wife’s family home. Bonnie, David’s ex-wife who also flew in from Florida, and David’s son from Montana, were all arriving within one hour of each other. David’s ex-wife introduced Bonnie and David when he picked everyone up and drove them all to the house in Newark. There really was no concept of a first date. Bonnie and David next saw each other at the Newark house. They became fast friends, seeing each other and doing things together every day. This developed into them becoming best friends and soulmates. Bonnie said when you meet in your 70s, it helps to have co-acceptance, lots of laughter, and the grace of God. Bonnie truly believes that God puts people in each other’s path and that’s how Bonnie and David found each other in their later years. They have been residents of Middleton’s Independent Living Cottages since October of 2019.
Frank and Joan Chester
Frank and Joan met on a blind date when they were 18 and 19, respectively. Frank was on leave from basic training and his best friend and Joan’s good friend introduced them. They all met at a local bar for a bite to eat and played some pool. Frank couldn’t stop thinking about her, so they saw each other almost every day of the 10 he was home. He told her he was going to marry her, and Joan laughed.
Frank returned to OCS training and wrote Joan letters and poetry, then asked her to marry him when he returned on leave. They wrote more letters when Frank shipped out to Korea, and when he returned from the war in December 1954, they were married on May 15th. Joan and Frank have been married 67 years, have 10 children, 27 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Frank says the key to staying together for him is not to argue. People say things they cannot unsay when they argue. Joan says perseverance in a relationship is the key. It never entered their minds to give up.
Ron and Alma Gibson
Ron was a relief person working for General Electric Company. He would give employees their breaks during the day and met Alma working on the line with her. They formed a friendship, fell in love, and were married on January 3rd, 1980. They have been married for 41 years. Ron’s fondest memories are their days of working side by side.
Ron and Alma believe that for a successful marriage a couple should keep God in their life and be best friends with each other.
Cleve and Peggy Sheilley
Cleve and Peggy were high school sweethearts who married on October 23, 1954. They have been married for 67 years.
The couple worked hard for everything. Working side by side in family as well as business. They have a great faith in God and are wonderful friends to all of our residents and staff.
John and Karen Mollenauer
We met when Karen's Brother Hale asked me to join in a get- together, double date. We have been married for 60 years and lived in the same home for 56 of those years. Our long-term relationship has been one of joint sharing and understanding each other's needs. Humor has played a role! The secret to this ‘great’ relationship has been support from all family, children, and grandchildren, wonderful friends and participation in local projects and volunteer organizations.
Wayne and Mavis Schultz
We met in Topeka Kansas in April 1957. I was studying to be a nurse. I met Wayne’s older brother and he introduced me to his younger brother. The rest is history. We dated for 18 months and married in September 1958 after I graduated. We have three grown children and three grandchildren. We respect each other as individuals and allow differences. We enjoy reading, watching movies, playing on our iPad, and exploring our hobbies. We came from similar German family backgrounds and Christian values. I married Wayne because he is my best friend. He married me because I make German potato pancakes just like his mother. We enjoy riding our 3-wheeled bikes around the Cherry Blossom complex and visiting the cottage neighbors.
Connie and Howard Swink
Connie went with her girlfriends, Maxine & Ruby, to a Halloween party in 1955 that was being held at the high school they had graduated from the year before. When she set eyes on Howard, she said, “Ruby, you can get me that for Christmas!’” Ruby took the challenge, introduced Howard and Connie, and their love story began. They were married by Easter of 1956! 66 years, wow!
With a spouse in the military while raising a family of four children, helping one another was very important. “’Being right’ was not always as significant as having peace in the home. Before going to sleep, we have always said ‘I Love You’ to one another. Being kind to one another is so dear and easier when you find the one you love. We have also attended church regularly ever since we met. We learned early on that as we live to please God, He promises to bless our lives and make us prosper.”
Ron and Sally Culbertson
We met at school—seems as if we have always known one another. We were in classes together since 4th and 5th grade and graduated within one year of one another from high school. We have dated since high school and our mothers knew one another since they were in elementary school. We’ve been married 58 years and we dated two years before that, so 60 years. Wow!
In order to make our relationship work, we believe in a lot of give and take. Don’t be selfish. We share similar values. We also have similar backgrounds: church connections, many friends in common, enjoying and playing football in high school, growing up and continuing to live in a tight-knit community. Our parents even took us to the Officers Club at the Depot—there was a swim club there, too. It was a great gathering place for the families.
Barbara and Ron Nichols
I was 14 and he was 16 and he came to my high school’s basketball game to watch the rival team. I was with my friend and he was with his friend. It wasn’t until after the basketball game, my friend and I were walking to the soda shop, and Ron yelled after us and well that’s that. We have been married 61 years, but he chased me for five years prior to that—haha.
Our secret? Always give over 50% each side and always help each other out, working together or it doesn’t work at all. Love and respect is so important.
Bob and Carole Kendall
Bob and Carole Kendall met at Olivet Congregational Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where both their families attended. In fact, Bob and Carole snuck one of their first kisses while playing Mary and Joseph in a Christmas pageant at the church! Their families remained close, and Bob and Carole dated throughout high school. After a brief interruption to date others, they returned to their relationship and eventually a life-long commitment to one another. Bob went off to college at University of Connecticut and eventually entered the U.S. Air Force through UCONN's ROTC program. Carole studied at Southern Connecticut Teachers' College as her relationship with Bob continued.
They married on March 31, 1957, a date that fell on Palm Sunday and meant they needed special permission to get married. Then they were off to travel the world through Bob’s various Air Force base assignments. His aviation career of 38 years included 23 years of USAF and 15 years of corporate aviation training and evaluation. He was Commander of a 14 multi-engine aircraft and aircraft accident investigator. Carole supported Bob through each assignment and move, and together they raised a beautiful family.
If you asked Bob and Carole to what they owe the success and longevity of their 64-year marriage, at the top of the list would be God's grace and faithfulness. Following closely behind is a deep commitment to family, including parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, daughters and their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The Kendalls moved into Ashton Grove in August of 2020. It was a challenging transition, as their needs were different. Carole lives in Memory Care and Bob lives in Assisted Living. Bob spends much of his time in Memory Care, eating three meals a day with Carole, visiting with others, and is always a big hit with the ladies. Their dog, Sophia, also lives at Ashton Grove and goes back and forth visiting her mama and daddy. Sophia, along with the Kendalls, is constantly making the staff at Ashton Grove smile. Their relationship is a daily reminder to the Ashton Grove family of true love and commitment. They are the HEART of Ashton Grove in so many ways, and we are very grateful for them and their life story.
Gerald and Ann Roberts
Gerald and Ann Roberts have been married 57 years. Ann laughed when I asked her how they met. She said Gerald came up to my door and knocked. When I answered the door he looked at me and said, “Hi cutie.” We have been together ever since. Ann said the best way to make a marriage work is always love one another, communicate, and always take care of each other.
Frank and Rosie Brock
Frank and Rosie Brock met roller-skating at the Silver Moon Roller dome in Waterloo, Indiana. Frank said he loved to dance skate, but Rosie never got the hang of it, so he always had a new partner. They married November 16th, 1947. Frank and Rosie said to have a successful marriage you must love each other, trust each other, communicate, and love your family.
Larry and Sally Gray
Larry and Sally Gray met in college. They married June 13th, 1953. Larry and Sally said a good marriage is loving, caring, and taking care of your family.
Ray and Ginny Quance
Ray and Ginny Quance met at the Bartlett’s Dance Pavilion at Lake James. They married October 18th, 1946. Ray and Ginny said the only way to a successful marriage is always love each other, communicate, never go to bed angry, and always do things together.
Cliff and Peggy Stewart
Cliff and Peggy Stewart have been married 42 years. They met in an ice storm in Bellevue, Nebraska. Cliff and Peggy said they have always loved each other through everything. Never go to bed mad, always take care of each other, always be patient with each other, laugh together often, and always communicate.
Orrin and Pat Jinnings
Orrin and Pat Jinnings met through friends. Pat had just turned 18 when they married February 17th, 1951. Pat said all Orrin had to do is just say yes in their marriage. She also said they had the same goals in life, so it made their marriage a little bit easier.
Larry and Marcie Lothamer
Larry and Marcie Lothamer met at Skyline Dance Club on North Clinton Street in Fort Wayne. They married September 11th, 1948. Larry and Marcie said their marriage was easy. They just clicked, and they were lucky to have a good marriage and a great family together.
Richard and Marilyn Renbarger
Richard and Marilyn Renbarger met during a meeting of the Korean War Veterans, in Fort Wayne. Both are US Veterans. Marilyn served in the US Army as General Ike’s secretary. Richard served 27 years in the United States Marine Corp. They married February 23rd, 1998. Richard and Marilyn feel so thankful to be together in their senior years. Each day they try to look after each other and give their very best for one another.
Ed and Caryl Eppele
Ed and Caryl Eppele met at Bowling Green State University in 1955. They married June 6th, 1959. Ed and Caryl said never go to bed mad, pray together, and always love each other.
Dan and Mimi Kranjc
Dan and Mimi Kranjc have been married 67 years. Both were born in Slovenia, but did not meet until they both came to America. Mimi came to America in 1950, and Dan came in 1951. Both moved to Cleveland, Ohio, which was a large Slovenian Community. They met at a singing group. Dan said that having faith in God has helped them through the hard times. Mimi said honesty between each other is very important.
Charles and Isabel Morton
Charles and Isabel Morton met in college. Isabel was a roommate of his cousin’s girlfriend. They were sat up on a blind date. Neither one of them wanted to go, but they did it anyway. Their first date was at Circle Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana. They saw Patty Page in concert. This was a Saturday. On Sunday, the cousin of Charles called and asked him if they could take the girls back to Ball State where they attended college. Charles said the only way he could take them back is if they attended church with him. They all went to church, and after church Charles and his cousin took the girls back. Charles asked for her number and called her a week about another date. Even though Isabel went to Ball State and he went to Purdue, he would drive from West Lafayette to Muncie to see her. Charles graduated from Purdue on a Sunday, Isabel graduated from Ball State on a Tuesday, and they got married the next Monday, June 8th, 1952.
Charles and Isabel said their marriage worked because they are both Christians. Charles laughed and said he yelled at her and got it over with when they got in a disagreement. Charles and Isabel both said you have to love each other, respect each other, laugh together, and obey your marriage vows. They promised each other to stay together, never go to bed mad, and to always kiss each other before they said goodnight. They both enjoy being married to each other. As I was talking to them, you could see the love and respect for each other in their eyes.
Alan and Fern Clemens
Alan and Fern Clemens have a romantic story. A friend at work introduced them in 2001. Fern gave Alan her number, but it took several weeks to call her because he was nervous. He finally called, and they started dating. On the day he proposed to her, he took her to dinner at a Japanese restaurant. After dinner, he had ordered a horse and carriage to take them through town. When they got to downtown Fort Wayne, he had the carriage pull over and he got down on his knee and proposed to Fern. They both said communication, and taking care of each other through thick and thin is the way to a successful marriage.
Lowell and Cynthia Fein
Lowell and Cynthia Fein met in Fairfield, California. Lowell was Cynthia’s Sunday School Teacher. Lowell said she was in the 8th grade and he worked in the shipyard. When they got married, June 18th, 1966 Cynthia just had her 18th birthday, graduated from high school, and then they got married. Lowell said their relationship and marriage was easy. He said “Yes, Dear” a lot. Lowell adds that they pick their battles and share lots of love and affection.
Ron and Dottie Hill
West Park Place
Ron and Dottie met at the bank in the old O-I building. Ron was a teller and Dottie worked on the 16th floor. They wanted to get married on Valentine’s Day in 1957, but Saturday fell on the 16th, so they got married on February 16, 1957. They will be celebrating 64 years of marriage this year! They both enjoyed the outdoors and became campers for 40 years. Plenty of room in the great outdoors!!!
Tom and Maryanne Phalen
Tom and Maryanne Phalen joined the Traditions at Camargo community in January of this year. They have enjoyed 57 wonderful years of marriage. Prior to their move to Camargo, Tom and Maryanne lived in Blue Ash. They have five children and twelve grandchildren.
Maryanne’s brother, George (“Bucky”), was a student at Holy Cross. While George was a student there, he had a good friend and roommate for four years by the name of Tom Phalen. Tom had a summer program that brought him to Columbus, Ohio. While Tom was in Columbus, George had arranged a time for them to meet Maryanne in Dayton. Maryanne was working as a nurse at the time and was in the middle of her shift when Tom stopped by the hospital to meet her. A co-worker alerted Maryanne that a gentleman had arrived asking for her. She took a break from her shift and Maryanne met Tom at the coffee shop across the street. Maryanne remembers Tom ordering a Coca-Cola, and Maryanne’s brother, George, took a snapshot of the two of them at their first meeting.
Tom later traveled south for a week to visit George and see the sights in Cincinnati. They planned to spend an evening at Moonlite Gardens at Cincinnati’s Coney Island, a concert venue for Big Band music complete with a dance floor. While George already had a date for the evening, he was unable to find a date for his friend Tom. Tom suggested George ask his sister, Maryanne, if she would be interested. Maryanne said yes and went to Moonlite Gardens as Tom’s date. It all progressed from there.
Tom was scheduled to travel to Southeast Asia for two years on a military assignment. He and Maryanne decided to marry before he was to leave, and they were wed in 1963. Maryanne accompanied her husband to Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand. In Thailand, Maryanne was able to work for the Red Cross while Tom was on assignment.
Tom later became an Administrative Law Judge and he and Maryanne had five children. When asked why their 57 years of marriage has been so successful, Maryanne replied that they were always able to settle any debate, argument, or disagreement amicably. “Whether you are on the right side or wrong side, it’s important you settle things amicably.”
George and Barbara Brinegar
George and Barbara met in 5th grade when George moved into the area and attended the same elementary school as Barbara. They attended the same schools all through middle and high school and were often in the same classes. In 8th grade science class, they discovered that they both had the same type of blood and were the only two in the entire school that had B-positive blood. Barbara thought he was too tall, but cute. They worked with different partners on their science fair projects, but both Barbara and her partner and George and his partner were the only teams to go to the state science fair from their school. Through high school, Barbara dated another boy, but George and Barbara both attended the same college. One day, they ended up at the same bus stop waiting for the bus. George said to Barbara, “Do I know you?” They became acquainted once again and have been together ever since. They have been married for 47 years.
George is calm and allows Barbara to have her emotions. If George doesn’t agree with something, he will say, “Let’s discuss this.” He is supportive and puts up with her temper. They are best friends, lovers, and parents. They have common interests and goals.
Irving and Beatrice Taragano
Irving and Beatrice Taragano lived in New York, in buildings that were side by side to each other. They would often see each other at social clubs where local kids would go to hang out. One day, Beatrice was playing checkers and while Irving was passing by and looking over her shoulder he shouted, “You made the wrong move!” Beatrice turned to him and gave him a look, and he knew to walk away.
Thirty minutes later she walked over to him and asked him if he wanted to go to her cousin’s going away party that evening, he was going off to the army. The very next day they had their official first date. He took her to the movies and asked her on a second date to the same movie theater. They took the public bus home and Irving walked Beatrice to her building. They were standing in the hallway waiting for the elevator and Beatrice asked him “Are we going steady?” Just then the elevator door opened. Irving said, “By the time we got to the fourth floor we were engaged.” Nine months later they got married on November 3, 1951. Irving said their wedding was beautiful and that it must have cost his father-in-law a fortune. At the wedding reception, Beatrice’s mother approached Irving and asked him if he was going to take care of her daughter. Irving replied, “For the rest of my life.” Almost 70 years later and they are still taking care of each other. I asked Irving and Beatrice, “How have you made your relationship work all these years?” Irving quickly responded, “I say yes all the time, I learned that early on.” Beatrice agreed with him. They have two sons, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. They have lived at Traditions of Deerfield since September 2018.
June and Junior Carman
June and Junior Carman were married September 3, 1949 and have been married for 72 years. They met when June was going for a night out with a friend of hers, and Junior happened to be their chauffer. Junior and her friend had been buddies for some time. Once the evening was over, Junior drove them home. June’s friend walked her to the door, then asked June if she was interested in going out with his friend the chauffer. June said yes. The friend planned a double date with his girlfriend and June and Junior. They wanted to go to the bar and June said she would stay behind. Junior said he would, too. June and Junior drove around and ended up at a place called The 60-Second Shop. They spent the evening in the car eating burgers and getting to know each other, and have been inseparable since that day.
A year later they got married. They went on to have five kids, 17 grandkids and 17 great grandchildren including the newest great grandchild born on December 29. I asked June, how she and Junior made their relationship work all these years. With joyful tears in her eyes, she whispered, “trust.” She went on to say they have lived a wonderful and blessed life thanks to Junior. He knew how to do everything and was good at it. They have lived at Traditions of Deerfield since March 2018.
Dan and Susan Shaffer
Dan and Susan Shaffer attended the same High School, but did not know each other until they met in college through a mutual friend. They began a relationship and on December 25, 1964 Dan proposed to Susan. He placed a diamond ring inside a Christmas ornament and asked her to be his wife. She said yes. However, in May of 1965, Susan called off the engagement and they parted ways. They both moved on with their lives and were married for 30 years to other people.
In 1997, Susan reached out to Dan’s mother and wanted to get in touch with Dan. His mother led Susan back to Dan and they met for coffee. They said they picked up right where they had left off 30 years prior. Dan said he always knew Susan was the love of his life and was very happy to have her in his life again. On October 22, 1998 they got married in a small church in Cold Springs, Kentucky with their closest family and friends by their side. In 2001, they relocated to Panama City Florida where Dan owned property. Susan often traveled back to Cincinnati to visit her three children and six grandchildren. However, in October 2018, hurricane Michael hit their town and destroyed nearly everything. They were fortunate and were able to salvage a lot of their belongings, but the town suffered a huge loss and even using a phone was near impossible. Dan realized between the state of their city and how much Susan missed being around her children and grandchildren, it was time to move back. In April of 2019, Dan and Susan chose Traditions of Deerfield as their new home. Asked how they have made their relationship work all this time, Dan quickly responded, “I just don’t argue with her.”
Marie and Ed Frank
Marie Frank was born and raised in Jerusalem and was forced out of her homeland because of war. She relocated to Jordan where she became a fashion designer and opened her own shop. Shortly after, she moved to America, to pursue her passion for fashion in Pittsburgh.
Ed Frank was the first generation of his family born in America. His family immigrated to America from Lebanon. He was a college student at the University of Pittsburgh and lived near campus. One evening when he had a lab, he took the streetcar back to his house and noticed Marie, who was on her way home from work. When it was his stop, he noticed got off at same place. They stopped to chat for a few minutes. Within two weeks they had their first date and have been together since that day. Ten months later, they got married and have been together for 64 years. They have three children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. When asked how they have made their relationship work, Ed said they come from the same ethnic background and understood each other’s culture. They share the same interests and were just meant to be. They have lived at Traditions of Deerfield since January 2020.
Barbara and Roy Dixon
Roy and Barbara Dixon met in 1956. One of Barbara’s friends had dated Roy and thought that he and Barbara would be a good match. She was right. Barbara said she stole him from the world. On November 14, 1958 they got married. They have two children, a cat they refer to as their third child, and one grandkid. When asked what has made their marriage work for 62 years, Roy quickly answered, “sheer endurance.” They have lived at Traditions of Deerfield since December 2020.
Donald and Claudeen Baltzer
Donald and Claudeen Baltzer met in 1960 while he was doing his Anesthesiology residency at St. Francis General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. Claudeen and her friend were talking one day and her friend mentioned that they should go on a double date with Donald and his friend. Claudeen spoke up and said she would like to go with Donald. The date was planned and at the last minute the other couple backed out. Donald and Claudeen went on the date just the two of them and the rest was history! They dated a year and a half and got married in 1961. They have been married 59 wonderful years!
Donald and Claudeen have three daughters. When ask how they have made their relationship work all these years, Donald said there was really no option but to always work things out. “Once you marry, you stay married.”
Claudeen said they had their ups and downs over the years, but have always tried to give and take in their relationship. Compromising on things along the way.
They have enjoyed many wonderful trips, and after retiring have visited Canada, Nova Scotia, Ireland, Mexico, France, Spain, Morocco, Germany, Poland, and Italy, just to name a few.
They are enjoying their home here at Traditions at Brookside.
Kristin Cherry, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Traditions Management
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Indianapolis Oasis is part of a national nonprofit educational organization designed to enhance the quality of life for adults 50+. Oasis promotes healthy aging through lifelong learning, health and wellness and volunteer engagement. Our programs create opportunities for our members that encourage personal growth and meaningful service to the community.