For sixty-five years Leona and Vernon Reichelt have walked hand-in-hand; side-by-side…
The son of Bennie and Selma (Johnson) Reichelt, Vernon will turn 87 years old in May and has three sisters. The family lived on a farm in the Duxby area north of Badger. Vernon attended the Duxby school through the eighth grade and commented that he didn’t like school. “I would have rather hauled hay or wood.”
Eighty-two year-old Leona was born to Ted and Cecelia (Herling) Sjaaheim who farmed in the Roseau area. Her first seven years of education took place at the Rindahl school, District 32, and later the Roseau school. Two brothers and two sisters were also family member.
Their first date was on January 28, 1952. They told how they and three other couples had made plans to attend Luther League at the Duxby church.
“My cousin, Marvin Trangsrud, was driving the car, sister Darlene was sitting next to Marvin,” Vernon explained, “and my sister Ivy and Dan Olson were also in the front. Sitting in the back were Leona’s brother Kenny and Adeline, and Leona and I.”
“We were supposed to be going to Luther League but we ended up going to show instead.” Leona said with a laugh. “Will Rogers said it best …‘Why is youth wasted on dumb kids?’… that’s my favorite saying.”
Vernon added, “Before we got married we would run around in a 1929 Model A and go Christmas fooling. The car didn’t have a heater but back then the cold never seemed to bother us!”
Exactly one year from the couple’s first date, Leona and Vernon “tied the knot” on January 28, 1953, at the Baptist Church parsonage in Roseau. Their attendants were Kenny Sjaaheim and Audrey Reichelt.
Did Leona recall what Vernon said when he proposed to her? “I really don’t remember,” she said.
With a chuckle, Vernon quipped, “She thought I was somebody else … it was dark!”
In honor of their anniversary, Vernon presented his wife with a beautiful four-piece set of jewelry.
As for Leona, she still knows the way to her man’s heart. Vernon was gifted with a huge three-pound Hershey candy bar! “Well,” she said, “I know he likes chocolate so that’s what I got him!”
To see the full story, read the February 14 issue of The Tribune.