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75 years and counting: Wayne and Pearl Wanous celebrate a unique marriage milestone

Wayne and Pearl Wanous hold hands as they celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary. The couple moved to Red Wing in 1992 because they enjoyed the area and the golf. Today they live at Deer Crest. Rachel Fergus // RiverTown Multimedia

Wayne and Pearl Wanous have a fairly unique accomplishment: 75 years of marriage.

After seven and a half decades, they still hold hands.

The two met while they were in high school. Pearl had transferred to the school that Wayne attended in South Dakota in 1941. While Wayne Wanous was in class one day, he looked into the adjoining classroom that was separated by a glass window. Wanous saw Pearl typing for her journalism class.

"And I stood up and said, 'Look at that blonde!' And, of course, the teacher said 'Wanous! Sit down!'"

The couple married three years later. Wayne Wanous had left South Dakota for basic training in California, he was then transferred to El Paso, Texas. Pearl and Wayne were married in El Paso on Jan. 8, 1944, while she was there visiting him. The couple lived in Texas for three months before returning to South Dakota during Wayne Wanous' furlow. When he left for France, Pearl Wanous remained in the Dakotas.

Wayne and Pearl Wanous have a plethora of stories to tell about their lives and their 75 years together. For example, he left Boston Harbor for Europe on D-Day. He served in France and Germany. While in Paris, Wayne ran into one of his brothers who was also serving. Wanous knew that his brother was in the country, but was not expecting to see him.

When Wayne Wanous returned from World War II, he held a couple different jobs in sales and owned a dry-cleaning business with his brother for eight years before selling-out to his brother. Wayne Wanous' final career was his own company that created the plastic for greeting cards.

Pearl Wanous, meanwhile, worked at SuperValu for 38 years. She worked her way through the ranks and retired as the executive secretary. Wayne Wanous teased her as he told the story of her career.

"How come you worked such a short time, Pearl?" Wayne Wanous asked, "Didn't you like the job?"

Pearl Wanous has dementia now so Wayne Wanous did most of the talking during their interview with the Republican Eagle. However, when Wayne Wanous began talking about golf, Pearl Wanous recounted the fact that she had shot a hole-in-one.

The Wanouses were big golf fans. In fact, that was the main reason that they originally moved to Red Wing. The couple had lived in Minneapolis and it suburbs for numerous years. They golfed there, but they found that they usually needed to make reservations days or weeks in advance. At the Red Wing Golf Course, they could golf whenever they wanted. So in 1992, the Wanouses moved to Red Wing, bought a house and joined what was then the country club.

When they were not working and golfing, the couple liked to travel together. Two of their biggest trips were to Spain and Norway. While in Norway, they were able to eat lunch in the home where Pearl Wanous' father grew up.

People have been asking the couple what the secret to 75 years of marriage is. Wayne Wanous said, "There is not secret. She put up with me, I guess. Right, Pearl?"

Pearl Wanous smiled and laughed at her husband of 75 years.

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