Still together: Williams Bay couple celebrating 70th anniversary
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Elma Zinser says her husband still pulls out her chair for her, as he has done since the early days of their relationship in the early 1940s. The Williams Bay couple celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in January 2013. Terry Mayer photo.
WILLIAMS BAY -- Elma Merritt agreed to a date, but there was one condition. George Zinser needed to meet her parents, Bess and Jess, first.
“It all got started because George’s boss was dating my aunt,” Elma said. “So George called me up and asked me out, but I said only if he comes over to meet my folks, and he agreed.”
They dated a few times. However, George had neglected to mention one important thing to the newest apple of his eye: He was engaged to a woman back in his home state of Illinois.
“I just told him, ‘No more dates until you talk to her.’ The next day, he told me he wasn’t engaged anymore.”
But that didn’t last long -- a courtship of about three months. George and Elma were married, during a blizzard, in her native New Jersey before George began his commitment to the U.S. Navy.
That was Jan. 30, 1943, meaning the Zinsers will celebrate their 70th anniversary on Wednesday, no doubt with little fanfare and each other the only company they need, although special moments of reminiscing are sure to take place with a few employees and fellow residents at Sherwood Lodge, an assisted living facility in Williams Bay where the couple has resided since last spring.
George, 92, spent most of his working life with Westinghouse and Cadillac, while Elma, 90, was a housewife. They raised their children in Walworth County, lived in Florida for 32 years and moved back to Wisconsin, making Westshire Farms in Delavan their home about 11 years ago.
Their son, Wayne, like his father, served in the Navy. He then made a career in law enforcement, working with the Fontana Police Department before dying of cancer. Their daughter, Bobbi, lives in Walworth and gives piano and organ lessons.
She said her parents have overcome some pretty steep obstacles recently.