Jack and Katie were highschool sweethearts. Their first date was April 1948 attending the Junior/Senior prom in Grantsburg WI where they both lived and went to school. Katie’s brother Merlin was Jack’s best friend and so he introduced them formally. Jack graduated high school in 1948 and went on to Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Katie graduated a year later, while they continued to date and were considered to be “going steady.”
Katie had made a commitment as a Christian young woman to only date a man who believed in Jesus, as she did — Jack was that man. He enrolled in Fairview’s School of Nursing in the Spring of 1950. They got engaged in 1951 and planned their wedding to be after she graduated from nursing school. Their wedding was moved up to January 24, 1953, when Jack received orders from the United States Navy that he was to report to Bremerton, WA, where he would be shipped out on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier for at least 9 months.
Jack served as a Navy engineer on the Yorktown for three years, touring Japan and Hong Kong in the Pacific. While Katie remained seaside in California where she worked as a nurse. Though spending time “apart” their hearts remained connected by Jack’s daily letters and occasional military leaves. In 1955, Jack was discharged from the Navy, and together they moved to Madison, WI where he enrolled in mechanical engineering at UW Madison. Katie continued to work as a nurse at Madison General Hospital.
In September of 1956, they welcomed their first son. Shortly after this event, Jack was offered by his father to start a new propane gas business in Siren, WI, where they made their new home. The family grew, with a second son, in 1958, and a daughter in 1962. They became members of Bethany Lutheran Church for 50+ years, both of them active in church council, teaching, and choir.
They were involved in many other community activities. Jack volunteered in the fire department, and they both served as EMTs on the local ambulance service. Together they actively participated in the American Legion, Siren High school Ag club, and its annual June Dairy breakfast event. They were committed to raising their children to fear the Lord, serve their community, and work hard.
Jack became a pilot and enjoyed flying his small planes, along with his older brother. The annual family trip to the Oshkosh EAA Airshow gave them the opportunity to volunteer and enjoy camping out and fellowship with their aviation friends as well as extended family members who joined them.
Katie was active in Christian Women’s Club, as well as volunteering for the American Red Cross. Katie “retired” from nursing in 1987 after 34 years of working as an RN. Jack sold the propane business in 2015 after 59 years of serving his customers faithfully. In their retirement, they looked forward to their winter timeshare weeks in both Hawaii and Mesa AZ, where they could relax and thaw out a bit from the typical Wisconsin winter weather.
On January 24, 2022, they celebrated their 69th Wedding Anniversary. Faith and family remain their central focus in these latter days. They enjoy fellowship and attending New Hope Lutheran Church in Grantsburg, WI. Opportunities to gather with their adult children and their families for birthdays and holidays continue to bring them much joy and blessing.
Marriage Advice: When asked about the longevity of their marriage, they attribute it to keeping their hearts centered on Jesus Christ. They have done this all these years with a commitment to daily family devotions and ending the day with prayer together as a couple. It could be said: ‘Putting God FIRST made our marriage LAST!”
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