Scheffs marking 75 years of marriage

Frank and Betty Scheff of Fairmont will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on Monday. Betty says staying together in a marriage is work that a couple undertakes together.

Frank and Betty Scheff will celebrate 75 years of marriage Monday. The couple have lived in the area for many years, and have enjoyed their time together since marrying at a young age.

Betty recently shared part of their life journey and what it takes to stay committed for so long.

“We were married in 1944,” she said. “I was 17 and he was 21. That’s a lot of roads and paths we took.”

The couple first met in Ceylon, where Betty was already on her own at the age of 14.

“I was working at the Ceylon Dairy, and I met his sisters at church,” she said. “They would come and pick me up and take me along to church, and little by little I met his [Frank’s] family and they invited me to their house.

“From then on, every time he wanted to have a date with me, his dad said he could have the car but he would have to take his sisters with us. We didn’t always like that.

“Then we were married in 1944, and I remember the weather was hot and windy. After we got married, Frank joined the service, and he wanted to get in the Air Force because he loved airplanes.

“Frank took his training in Fort Lewis in Washington. That was such a damp place and he ended up getting bronchial asthma. After a while, he was sent home because of that, but it was a blessing for us.

“I was working here in Fairmont, and when he got home we needed a place to live and he needed a job. So the first job he had was working in a garage and that lasted for a while. He had many different jobs, including Railway Motors.

“They said they liked to get farm boys because they knew how to work, and he was there for 23 years.”

Betty noted they bought their first house on Webster Street in Fairmont.

“We ended up buying it for $3,000, which was a lot of money in 1944. We had to get rid of the car that he had and had to borrow money from his dad.

“He said us kids were going to lose that place, but we did our thing anyway and we lived there for seven years. We doubled our money on that when we sold that, and by that time we had three girls.

“Then we lived on Linden Avenue and finally had a boy and it got pretty crowded. So we bought a house on Woodland Avenue.

That house just about killed me,” Betty said with a laugh. “It had closets in it as big as bedrooms. But the family loved it; it was spacious.”

At that time, Betty went to work at a nursing home, and loved working with the people there.

After Woodland Avenue, the couple found a home on South Prairie Avenue. Meanwhile, Betty began doing foster care work with teenagers.

“Everybody said I was absolutely crazy,” she said. “But I said I love them. I had been a teenager once and I knew how rough it could be.”

“By that time, Frank decided he wanted to do something different than Railway Motors, so he decide to go on the road and do transport. He drove for Beaver Transport for many years and then he worked for Armour Transport, going to Chicago twice per week. He did that until he retired at 62.

“After that, we decided to sell that house on Prairie, and we built a brand new house on Independence Drive. I drew the plans up on it and we lived there for 18 years before we decided we were getting kind of old for the steps. So we sold that house and moved up to Falcon Drive.”

When asked what advice the couple would give to young couples for a lasting relationship, Betty said it is like traveling a road.

“There are a lot of bumps, but you just ride through them,” she said. “The bumps usually even themselves out. It’s not all pleasure, but there’s a lot of memories.

“You don’t get stuck in the mud and decide to walk away, and you don’t quit, you have to work through it. There’s many different roads and many different choices, but I think marriage is like that. You have to work together.”