In 1955, Joyce went to the skating rink in hopes to hook up with Jimmy LeJune, but LeJune left with another girl named Joyce. So Jim Vetter seized the opportunity to ask Joyce out for a hamburger in his 1950 Pontiac hardtop convertible. Though nervous at 15, Joyce was up for the adventure and said yes. She had a good time, great hamburger, and the beginning of the adventure of her life.
On her sweet 16th birthday, they got engaged and married on June 15, 1956, a year after Jim graduated high school. Jim and Joyce celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary this past June. Their marriage has lasted the test of time and health unlike four of their friends who married during the same timeframe and later faced the death of one spouse because of cancer or Alzheimer’s.
Health and happiness have never been an issue for the Vetters. Through the years they’ve bowled, water skied, skydived, judged BBQ contests. Joyce has played tennis and Jim has flown planes, practiced martial arts, earned his black belt in Karate, and practiced Akido.
“We’ve maintained a healthy mental and physical relationship,” says Jim. “I use to ski with Joyce on my shoulders and we trick-skied, too.”
Their active living and love lives produced three children the first three years of their marriage. Today, they have two children (their daughter Terri died at 7 from a rare bone morrow disease), two grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Through the loss of a daughter and most recently a granddaughter, the Vetter’s marriage has been Krazy Glue strong. “There has never been a time that I was unhappy being married,” says Jim.
There was a brief difficult time for Joyce six years into the marriage during a 1.5-year timeframe when Jim was working two jobs and never home. He worked full time at TWA and nights- and weekends as part owner of a bowling alley. “I told him it was either the bowling alley or us,” said Joyce. Jim sold the bowling alley to his partner.
“I would never do anything that would jeopardize my personal relationship with Joyce,” says Jim. Perhaps that’s one of the secrets to their longevity.
The other is there is zero jealousy in the relationship. Both love, care, and have the ultimate trust for one another’s faithfulness. Jim and Joyce say their marriage works because they are true partners in everything they do, yet somehow manage to keep their own interests.
“We’re great together and OK separately,” laughs Jim.
Check out more love stories at Midlife Mona Lisa.