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Lehigh couple celebrates 60th wedding anniversary

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Aug 13, 2020

Dave and Diane Fjelsted were wed in Wisconsin on Aug. 6, 1960. PHOTO PROVIDED BY TINA VARGA



A couple that married in Wisconsin in 1960 celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week, complete with a car parade of friends and family past their Lehigh Acres home.

Dave and Diane Fjelsted got married on Aug. 6, 1960, at Shepherd Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at an 8:30 p.m. candlelight ceremony.

Diane said laughing that they got married so late because our “relatives were farmers. They have to milk their cows before they can come to the wedding.”

“We were both from a small town of 800 people. We knew each other in high school, but started going together after high school and he had a year in college,” Diane said, adding that their first date was seeing Elvis Presley in “King Creole,” at a sneak preview at 11 on a Saturday night. “We have always been Elvis fans.”

The key to a marriage of 60 years Diane said is “Oh boy, lots of patience.”

“We have our ups and downs, too, but I think having faith in God is No. 1. That is something that both Dave and I come from, Christian homes, and raised that way was a plus,” Diane said. “We didn’t have anything pointed against us. We knew where to go when problems arose.”

As an anniversary gift, the couple was treated to a surprise, which included two new beige sofas for their home, which would be delivered on Aug. 17. Diane said she had seen what the sofas looked like, but did not have a chance to sit on them, which turned into a trip to Sam’s Club.

“They got us out of the house and then they had the house all decorated with roses. Across the front of the garage my ex-daughter-in-law put a banner across the garage door,” she said which was a picture of them now, and another of her and her husband on their wedding day. “That was put up across the whole garage door.”

Diane said after all of that, she and her husband took their chairs down to the end of the driveway and watched a parade of 10 cars full of friends, kids, relatives and grandchildren go up and down their road with confetti, noise makers and blow horns.

“It was really neat,” she said, adding that as the cars drove by, they stopped and talked for a minute. “We had a very nice driveway (parade) and surprise and gifts and cards from neighbors and neighbors grandchildren.”

A nice surprise present came from Diane’s oldest granddaughter. Diane said she bought a photo album that read “You Are My Sunshine” on the cover, which she was going to fill with baby pictures up through 25 years for her granddaughter. Unfortunately, Diane has not found the time to complete her project.

The surprise, her granddaughter purchased the same photo album as a present for her grandmother’s anniversary.

Diane said she used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to her granddaughter when she was little, which made the present all that much more unique.

In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Dave was a cement contractor and built duplexes before he obtained his builder’s license and became a custom home builder. After the Fjelsted’s moved to Lehigh Acres in 1971, Dave worked in construction for Lehigh Corp. before becoming the superintendent for American Heritage.

“He has built custom homes throughout the area,” Diane said.

The home that the couple lives in now is one that Dave built for them, complete with four bedrooms.

“The four bedrooms have been occupied. It’s been a joy,” she said.

Diane was a homemaker until 1976 for her two sons. She said she worked for the federal government Title 3 that provided meals for seniors, Congregate Meal Program. Diane said she worked with Senior Friendship Centers, which went through the school district because they received the same meals as what was delivered to the schools. She worked for them from June 1976 through 2017.

“I love people and you have to be a people loving person to have about 40 seniors in there every day,” Diane said, adding that the seniors received a well-balanced nutritional meal, as well as had the opportunity to participate in activities and attend parties.

The couple is now retired.

The couple now loves to play cards in the evening and catch some of their favorite television shows. They also love spending time with family and friends.

“We are going to keep on doing what we are doing for as long as we can,” Diane said. “We have raised two sons and helped raise three grandchildren and traveled some. I am so glad we were able to camp and travel and took the grandkids with us, and our own children while they were growing up. We have been greatly blessed.”