70 years of love

Published 7:05 am Monday, February 14, 2011

Doede and Eleanor Harms will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary this spring.

To remain married for 70 years, Doede and Eleanor Harms took the advice of Pastor Leo Sandgren on their wedding day: Never go to bed angry at each other.

Neither of them can remember an instance when they had.

Today, the couple still live in the same house they built in Blooming Prairie 62 years ago. On April 12, 2011, they will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

Email newsletter signup

Doede and Eleanor were childhood friends. “I knew him ever since he was a little kid,” said Eleanor, who is just months older than Doede. Both came to Hollandale in the mid 1920s. Yet soon after, they parted ways for roughly 10 years. When they met again, it was like each of them was a different person, Eleanor said.

Doede was one of few young men who had a car at the time, so the two were able to find some time together.

“There wasn’t a whole lot to do in those days,” Eleanor said. But she and Doede managed to go places and do things they “weren’t supposed to do,” she said.

Eleanor remembers spending time on the water behind an old mill and eating muskmelon with ice cream for the first time with Doede.

They started dating in June of 1940. Less than a year later, they got married.

After having four kids — Dean, Juanita, Darla and Daniel — the couple did a little of everything — especially camping and fishing.

Early in their marriage, they both worked at the hemp plant in Blooming Prairie. One would watch the kids, while the other worked; then they’d switch.

Doede also worked for a construction company for 32 years, and Eleanor worked at the Austin hospital for six years.

“When you work for a company that long, you get to do everything,” Doede said.

But aside from working in several fields, the couple managed to go nearly everywhere, too. They’ve been to 48 states, only missing Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They’ve been to every province in Canada and have also been to Mexico. For 13 years, they wintered in Arizona, but one thing always remains the same for them: their home in Blooming Prairie.

Eleanor said her grandmother always prayed for them, and before she died she insisted that all of her family continue praying for each other. Eleanor has carried on that tradition.

“She’s a prayer warrior for all of us,” the Harms’ daughter Darla said.

Today, the Harms are still members of the Grace Baptist Church in Austin, where they have attended for more than 40 years.

And they hope to remain in their Blooming Prairie home.

“We plan on living in our house for as long as we can,” Doede said.