Dwight and Wilma Egle maintain contentment after 75 years of marriage. The family picture shown behind them helps make their new residence at Imperial Parkview-Heights feel like home. (Johnson Publications photo)
Egles celebrate 75th wedding anniversary
“It’s a long time to live with one person,” said Wilma Egle regarding her husband of 75 years.
Dwight Egle then grinned with a twinkle in his eye and said, “She was a good woman. And she still is.”
The Stratton High School sweethearts from the class of 1942 were married Nov. 8, 1942 after their June high school graduation. The groom’s brother and bride’s sister joined them at a parsonage in McCook where the pastor pronounced them man and wife.
Dwight turned 18 years old just 13 days prior with his bride reaching the same age four days after the wedding.
A month after saying their vows, they received a letter that they weren’t legally married since they bought their license in Hitchcock County and were married in Red Willow County. Dwight joked they didn’t even know they were living in sin but took care of that by going to Culbertson to make it official.
Neither recollected their first date and a honeymoon definitely wasn’t something they could afford. They’ve counted on simple contentment for 75 years.
Although a honeymoon wasn’t in the budget, they have since enjoyed numerous trips to Branson, Mo., and splurged with a trip to Hawaii for their 70th anniversary five years ago.
They vividly recall the beauty they witnessed on a helicopter ride. Being reluctant to ever board a helicopter again after a previous bad experience, they were glad they did.
“We had an excellent pilot,” Dwight said.
Today they don’t have to say much to be content as they sit in their rockers at Imperial Parkview-Heights where they moved from Wauneta two months ago. They enjoy a front-side view from their apartment where they watch folks come and go.
“I learned to keep my mouth shut,” said Dwight regarding an easy way to settle an argument. “She’s going to win anyway,” he said with a chuckle.
Family played a key role in their lives as Jerry, Kathleen, Bobi and Pete came on board. Jerry was 14 when Pete was born. There was an age gap between the older two and younger two and Dwight recalls financially being able to treat the younger set to ice cream cones as they grew up.
Dwight worked at the hardware store in Stratton the first seven months of their marriage. They paid $3 a week for their apartment which came out of his $17.50 wages.
Dwight was called to the U.S. Navy basic training in Idaho in 1943 prior to being stationed at San Francisco, Calif. His bride went to live with her mother in Stratton and gave birth to their first son, Jerry, in October.
Wilma later packed up their infant for a train ride to California to meet his daddy. The baby made the trip just fine with soldiers there to help. What a joy it was for the family to reunite just weeks before Dwight was shipped out to the South Pacific.
Wilma stayed with her half-brother in San Francisco during those few short weeks where Baby Jerry slept in a dresser drawer.
The time came. It was Christmas Eve 1943 when the USS Sullivan whistle sounded. Dwight vividly recalls the Captain’s announcement. As they prepared to join the U.S. Navy 3rd and 7th fleets, the Captain questioned if leaving the day before Christmas would make the difference of whether they won or lost the war.
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