MISHICOT – One thing that has certainly kept Raymond and June Haack together as lovers for 70 years is his goofy sense of humor.
When asked why they hooked up in the early 1950s, Raymond, 88, is quick to reply, “I was walking down the street and she attacked me!”
June, 87, shakes her head and gently rolls her eyes with a slight smile.
The laughter has carried the couple through the decades, during which they both worked two jobs to make ends meet, moved from apartment to apartment and raised seven children — four girls and three boys.
He grew up in Algoma and traveled to Sturgeon Bay with friends.
“Then he started coming to me on his own,” June said.
They married when she was 17 – still in high school – and he was 18.
They can’t remember after all these years if it was love at first sight, they just knew they liked each other.
“I think she cornered me and made me talk to her,” Raymond joked.
Becky Brooks, her daughter, who is number 5 of the seven children, said she doubted his version of the story.
“Somehow I think it was the other way around! I can’t imagine my mother doing that,” she said.
They were married on October 15, 1952 at St. Peters Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay. They celebrated their 70th anniversary this year with a party at Mishicot VFW Park and Hall, which drew people from as far away as Florida and Pittsburgh.
This milestone puts them in a small club of only 0.1% of marriages U.S. Census Bureau Data from 2009.
They now have 30 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and three are on the way.
Raymond and June are seated in lounge chairs in their cozy living room on a beautiful afternoon, the sun is shining brightly through the sliding glass doors, and Raymond and June engage in a casual conversation, with him often teasing and her smiling back as they stroll down memory lane.
She dropped out of high school when they married and both worked. He worked a variety of jobs, including spending two years with his uncle on a boat on the Great Lakes.
That meant he wasn’t home for the birth of their second son, John. “I saw him when he was about a month old,” Raymond said. They had seven children between 1953 and 1965: Debra, 1953; Raymond, Jr., 1954; Wendy, 1955; John, 1957; Becky, 1959; Donald, 1962 and Pamela, 1965.
Despite keeping a busy household, June worked at various restaurants for years and many years at the Paragon Electric Company in Two Rivers.
“One thing I have to say about my parents is that they always worked hard to make sure we had the things we needed,” Becky said. “We weren’t the richest people, but they always made sure we had a happy Christmas and happy Easter. My dad worked two jobs to make sure the holidays were special.”
She remembered the fancy dresses, shoes, and hats the girls wore to church at Easter, and the beautiful gifts that lay under the Christmas tree every year.
Faith was an important part of family life and Raymond and June have been members of St Peter’s Church in Mishicot for 60 years.
“They were good parents and raised good kids,” Becky said. “All the kids help them pay bills, take them to appointments, clean and shop. The grandchildren love them and come over to take care of them too.”
Raymond quickly adds, “They don’t come all at once, though. It would get a bit cramped here.”
Years earlier, when their children had moved out and they were retiring, the couple bought a home in Arizona and wintered there.
“We really liked that,” June said. “We made a lot of nice friends down there. It was fun doing that.”
Today, the couple spends most of their time in their apartment. They occasionally make short trips into Mishicot to buy a pudding treat.
In June, Raymond had a health scare with severe sepsis in his leg.
“I’m surprised he’s doing so well,” Becky said. “We were afraid of losing him.”
Raymond got serious and said good communication kept their marriage strong.
“You’re going to have your ups and downs,” Raymond said. “You have to learn to sit down and say things when you need to.”
Sometimes you have to give your partner space, they said. Even now he will sit in one room to watch his TV shows and she will sit in another.
They also have a daily ritual as a couple. He makes them an adult drink every day around 4pm
Right now that’s brandy and Sprite soda, or a glass of wine on Sundays when they’re watching the Green Bay Packers on TV. The drink selection might change with the seasons, but they always drink at 4 p.m. and have dinner at 5 p.m., he said.
Becky said the family will celebrate each anniversary that Raymond and June reach.
“If they make it to 75, it’s going to be another big party,” she said with a grin. “Look out, Mishicot!”
Contact reporter Patti Zarling at [email protected] or call 920-606-2586. Follow her on Twitter @PGPattiZarling.