Ron, Suzanne Ollendick: Love, Laughter, 62 Years of Marriage

LIME SPRINGS - According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection” or “to feel deep affection for (someone).” According to Ron and Suzanne Ollendick, who will be celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary on Feb. 11, 2023, it’s much simpler and to the point. 
“A commitment ‘til death do you part,” Suzanne said in response to a query about what love means to her. “We’re there for all aspects. The good and the bad. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, and it isn’t all pits. There can be rough areas, but it does smooth out.” 
Ron agreed with this assessment and added, “I guess I love it [love] so far.”
Originally from Elgin, Neb., Ron’s family moved to Lime Springs in 1947. Suzanne was born in Cresco. They met at Notre Dame High School and started dating when she was 16. They got married less than a year after Suzanne graduated. 
The day was Feb. 11, 1961, and Suzanne was one month shy of 19 years old. Ron was 20, and his parents had to sign for him to get married.
“We were lucky,” Suzanne noted. “That year, it was 50-some degrees that day. The next weekend, people couldn’t get out of town, there was so much snow.”
In October of that year, the high school sweethearts moved to Omaha, Neb., where Ron went to Universal Trade for an 18-month mechanic’s course. They then moved to Cedar Falls where he worked at a garage. They eventually bought Ron’s Standard in Cedar Falls and remained there until 1972, when they returned to Howard County to join Ron’s father and brother in a farm partnership. 
“Everybody was excited but me,” Suzanne said. “I liked Cedar Falls, and I’d never lived on a farm. We came to a 10-party phone line, living and working with relatives. I was scared out of my tree.”
She chuckled at the memory. “It all worked out fine, though,” she said. “I was happy once I got used to it.”
And the farm was a great place to raise their kids. They had four kids in four years and 20 days – John, Jane, Joe and Jill – so Suzanne had her hands full while Ron worked the farm. They now have eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren spread out from the Des Moines area to Winona to Center Point.
“The down side,” Suzanne said, “is that they don’t live very close so we can’t see them as often as we’d like. But you know, that way we don’t get in a lot of trouble either.”
When they reflected on the length of time they’ve been married, it seemed a long time to consider.
“It’s hard to believe,” Suzanne said.
“Tell me about it,” Ron joked. Then, more seriously, he added, “Too many people nowadays get married, then two years and they’re right back out, starting over again. That doesn’t work worth a poop.”
Throughout the years, they’ve kept their traditions and celebrations of their anniversary relatively simple. They always try to go out to eat dinner, either with friends or just as a couple. Once, Ron brought flowers home to celebrate, and their reception was a mixed bag.
“I said, ‘Oh, they’re beautiful, but they die,’” Suzanne admitted wryly. “I’d rather eat it.”
So dinners out became the celebration of choice.
A particularly memorable anniversary, though, was their 25th. The kids threw them a big party at the Expo, and performed a mock wedding to entertain guests. Ron and Suzanne renewed their vows – “humorously,” Suzanne interjected with a laugh – and a good time was had by all.
Though they weren’t specifically planned as anniversary trips, they have traveled to many places throughout their years of marriage. Suzanne used to work for CUSB, and she got to go on a lot of VIP trips as a helper. Often, Ron got to go as well. They have been to Hawaii, New York, Alaska and even Costa Rica.
These trips weren’t always in February, but that didn’t daunt them. “If it wasn’t [in February], we just pretended it was,” Suzanne said.
After so many years on the farm, they retired last year and plan to move to Cresco soon. They’ve purchased a condo and are awaiting final renovations to be completed before they move in.
With longevity such a factor in their love story, Ron and Suzanne shared a few hard-won morsels of wisdom for other couples just starting out.
“Hang in there,” Suzanne said. Then, elaborating on the secret to a long marriage, she added, “We’ve been in it for the long run. There are good days and there are bad days, and you just love each other, and you work it out. Lots of laughs. If there’s a crisis, just take a deep breath and wait 24 hours to address it. Don’t jump right into it, and try to see the humor of it.”
Suzanne then turned to her husband and asked him what the secret of a long marriage is. With a twinkle in his eye, Ron said, “You.”
And they laughed.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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