One of the area's most enjoyable traditions is the the Kiwanis Club of Medina's Golden Wedding Anniversary Luncheon that pays tribute to Medina County couples who have reached the half century mark of married life. This year's celebration took place July 25, at Williams on the Lake, 787 Layfayette Road, Medina.
Following the buffet prepared by the Williams staff, Event Chair Joan Rundle introduced Medina City Mayor Dennis Hanwell, who congratulated the honorees, calling them an inspiration to everyone. He told them that unlike today's fast, everything-in-an-instant way of life, their tenacity, patience, love, and commitment serve as a model for upcoming generations.
Rundle then asked Board members Bob Toth and Stuart Neal to tell the guests about the 174th Medina County Fair, an institution that has been around since before the Civil War. They brought lifetime passes for the honorees.
Accompanied by pianist Dr. Glenn Toth, everyone joined in the singing of "Still the One," after which Medina Kiwanian Terry Shuman read a poem he wrote several years ago, "A Love That Never Dies," to commemorate 50 years of living and loving.
Each celebrated couple was introduced individually by a club member. Shuman presented Jill and Ron Linek, who met as band members at Medina High School. Music brought them together and has always been an important part of their lives. Other interests include a love of traveling; they celebrated their 50th anniversary with a trek to Africa. Their key to happiness: communication and like-mindedness.
Presenter Mike Short said Judy Pluta was only 15 when she met her future husband Edward at a movie theater. The Plutas married five years later and spent their honeymoon in the Poconos. One of their favorite trips was to Alaska. They believe faith has kept them together.
Owen Blakeslee presented Aileen and Roy Lehman who married in Dayton and honeymooned in St. Croix. Roy was the last president of Bennett Lumber. They said their secret to a happy marriage is ....a secret.
Judy and William Kalfas, who married over a Thanksgiving weekend, were presented by Keith Dirham. The couple met at Brunswick Lake where Judy says she captured Bill wearing her yellow polka dot bikini. Their extended honeymoon took them to New Orleans and California. The secret to their happiness: Bill makes Judy laugh, and they dance every morning.
Nancy Abbott presented JoAnn and Tom Boruvka who met at Cleveland State and married over spring break; there was no honeymoon because they had to get back to class. An interesting highlight of their lives: their first two grandchildren were born on the same day, and their last two grandchildren were born on the same day, but the last two were twins. They celebrated their anniversary with a month-long trip to Australia and New Zealand. Tom credits communication for the success of their marriage; JoAnn says it's a tandem bike.
Russ and Laura Todia introduced Barb and Jon Steingass. Jon first noticed Barb because she was always late arriving for a morning college class. They were married by her father. Jon is a minister and an attorney, Barb is a retired teacher. They took their whole family on a cruise to celebrate their 50th. Their marriage is successful because their motto is, "live by love." Jon also credits Barb's cheerful dispostion and optimism.
Darine Prok introduced Cheryl and Dan Shumaker, who married two years out of high school, just before Dan was sent to Viet Nam. When he returned they honeymooned in the Poconos; 50 years later they celebrated with another trip back to the Poconos. Other significant trips have been cruises to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Best advice from Dan: "wife is always right."
When Barb Woodard introduced Barbara and Roger Srail, she said Roger had to make a big decision when they married: use his money to repair his Corvette or pay for a honeymoon - the couple went to Florida. They built their own home in Seville, a labor of love that took 12 years. Their successful marriage is due to weathering the joys and storms of life together, relying on God, and eating ice cream.
The luncheon ended with everyone singing "God Bless America." Kiwanis is celebrating 100 years of service in Medina. To learn more, stop by for one of their Thursday meetings, 11:45, at Williams on the Lake, visit www.MedinaKiwanis.org, or call 330-298-5152 for further information.