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Longtime sweethearts mark 63 years

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Clara and Ron Van Tassel on their recent wedding anniversary. Photo by Robin Massa

ANCRAM—These octogenarian high school sweethearts are spending their lives together.

They must be good at it—they recently they celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Born and raised in Hillsdale, Ronald Van Tassel, and Clara Boice, born and raised in Ancram, were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Ancram October 17, 1959. They still go to the same church.

They both graduated from Roeliff Jansen High School in the Class of 1956, Mrs. Van Tassel recounted in a phone interview this week.

Mr. Van Tassel served in the U.S. Marines from 1956 to 1958, followed by six years in the reserves. When he settled down, he got a job at the Kimberly-Clark Ancram Paper Mill, where he was a shift foreman. He retired from the mill after 38 years.

After high school Mrs. Van Tassel went on to nursing school, graduating in 1959. During her career, she was a substitute school nurse, worked in a doctor’s office and also at Vassar Hospital, Poughkeepsie. Mrs. Van Tassel also served as the Ancram town historian for more than 20 years.

The Van Tassels didn’t get much relaxing done in their spare time with five children to keep them busy. The couple now has five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and another one on the way.

For their anniversary this year, a few friends came over and brought dinner and cake with them. Mrs. Van Tassel said they had a lovely time.

Though some have observed that the Van Tassels make having a long happy married life look easy, Mrs. Van Tassel said it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

But the secret to a marriage that stands the test of time, said Mrs. Van Tassel, is to go to sleep in the same bed together every night. If you do that “how can you stay mad?”

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com

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