Wisconsin couples married 65 years or more honored

Madison, WI – Wisconsin Family Council (WFC) announced today the first inductees into Wisconsin’s Marriage Hall of Fame. The organization began this unique Hall of Fame to honor both the institution of marriage and individual marriages that have gone the distance. Applying to be part of the Hall of Fame was open to any married couple in Wisconsin who have been married sixty or more years. In this inaugural group, the cut off was 65 years of marriage.

Julaine Appling, president of WFC, commented, “Strong marriages that last a lifetime are the bedrock for a strong Wisconsin. We are excited to launch this Marriage Hall of Fame and to induct eleven couples as the inaugural members. Each year in February we will open the application for other couples to apply to be inducted.”

The honor of being the longest-married couple goes to Hiram and Gretta Brown from Rice Lake. Hiram and Greta will celebrate their 78th wedding anniversary on March 25! Their daughter submitted their story, relating that her parents, now 98 and 97 years old, met at a USO in Arkansas. Hiram was shipped off to Paris almost immediately after they were married in 1943. Their daughter was born while he was overseas. He didn’t see her until she was nearly a year old. After Hiram came home from the war, the couple moved to Rice Lake, Hiram’s hometown. Their marriage advice is simple but so wise: “Stick it out!”

The other ten inaugural inductees are as follows:

• Elmer and Edna Georgeson from Camp Douglas, married 74 years
• Marvin (Sr) and Janey Kuel, from Kewaskum, married 71 years
• Paul and Laverne Franke, from Menasha, married 70 years
• Clarence and Henrietta (Hennie) VanEssen from Waupun, married over 70 years (Clarence passed away earlier this month)
• Jack and Katherine Hedlund from Grantsburg, married 70 years
• Donald and Alice Roth from Hustisford, married 69 years April 4
• Bill and Barbara Lincoln from Watertown, married 68 years
• Levi and Patricia Snyder from Markesan, married 68 years
• Otis and Bonnie Ostrander from Beaver Dam, married 67 years
• William and Shirley Wilks from Elkhorn, married 65 years

The often-entertaining and always enlightening stories and excellent marriage advice from all these inductees, along with pictures of many of them, are available online HERE.

“We congratulate all these couples on their milestone anniversaries! This is one of the most fun, and I think one of the most important, projects we’ve ever done! Hearing from these couples whose marriages are examples of faithfulness and commitment in both the trials and joys of life is encouraging and is a reminder to younger married couples that having a marriage that lasts a lifetime is possible and is worth the work that goes into it. One common theme we saw in the stories and advice was a strong shared faith, crediting their belief in God and in His Son Jesus Christ for keeping them together.

“We are so glad we can honor these couples who exemplify the kinds of marriages that build a strong foundation for our communities, state, and nation,” said Appling. Each of these couples will be sent a framed certificate recognizing their induction into Wisconsin’s Marriage Hall of Fame. Next year, WFC will induct more couples into the Hall.”


Wisconsin Family Council is a statewide organization engaged in strengthening, preserving and promoting marriage, family, life and religious liberty in Wisconsin.

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