Couple stays together for 72 years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 23, 2002

After 72 years of marriage, the best thing is that they are still getting along, according to the Jans.

Louie, 92,

and Maurine 91, will celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary Nov. 25.

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The couple married three months after meeting at a cemetery.

"I was with a friend going to visit my mother's grave, and he followed me," Maurine remembered.

They had four sons, adopted one of their grandsons and took care of a little girl for 13 years.

Louie, the third youngest of 15 children, served in the military during World War II.

"I was the chef for the guys in Italy," Louie said.

He also worked at the Hormel plant and as a doorman at the Moose and retired 30 years ago. Louie said he thought that once he retired he would die two years later.

Maurine moved to Minnesota from Iowa as a child.

"When I was younger I wanted to play the piano or type on a typewriter, but I never got that done," Maurine said.

She was a stay-at-home mom, but then worked cleaning houses and taking care of children.

"They're just a fun loving couple," Wanda Boyd, a friend, said.

Boyd met the couple through the Chores program, a service the senior center offers to elderly residents. She has known the Jans for 10 years.

"It has been a learning experience. I wish more people would spend more time with the elderly, or their grandparents because they have so much knowledge to provide from the past," Boyd said.

The Jans have 17 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. Their two surviving children live in Colorado and Texas.

For the wedding anniversary, the couple are having an open house today and family members from various states plan to visit. Maurine said there are too many siblings to have them all over at once because their house is too small.

Maurine was asked by her oldest grandson, who is currently married, what was their advice for newlyweds.

"Trust and love each other and don't go to bed mad," Maurine said.

In the afternoon the Jans play cards and Maurine enjoys baking and reading romance novels.

On Friday, Mayor Bonnie Rietz presented the couple with a plaque, a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, Jerry's Other Place, and a bouquet of flowers donated by HyVee.

Gov. Jesse Ventura also sent the couple a greeting card.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at