By Jim O'Leary
An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.
July 29, 2002
I was amazed and happy to see the announcement in the St. Mary's Parish Bulletin congratulating Jerome and Berneal Decker on their 50th wedding anniversary.
After I saw that, I got Berneal on the phone and she told me it really was true. They did celebrate their 50th at the Legion Club in Howard Lake.
Their actual anniversary is June 3, but the Howard Lake Legion Hall was so solidly booked that they had to take any date they could get.
They had their big celebration there Sunday, May 19. They had been married June 3, 1952, at St. Timothy's church in Maple Lake, with Allan Le Page as the best man and Shirley Fouquette as bridesmaid.
My claim to fame is that I am the person who introduced Jerome to Berneal. Berneal Marquette and her sister, Marcy Marquette, both farm girls who lived between Maple Lake and Buffalo, were smashing, delightful girls - real head turners.
It was at the Cokato roller rink when I introduced them. I was a senior in high school. I can't remember my own date that night, but I can sure remember Berneal.
Her sister, Marcy, later married Allan Le Page. "Romie" and Berneal are still in excellent health and live right near the farm where Jerome grew up with Marvin, his older brother, the only sons of Mr. and Mrs. Isador Decker, on Lake Waverly.
Their farm was by the channel on Waverly Lake. The Jerome Deckers now have 18 grandchildren.
Their four sons and three daughters are still all within striking distance - Dale, Dennis, Paul, and Mark are their sons, and their three daughters are Janet Perry, Sue Zachman, and Nancy Eastman.
They were a poster family for America if ever there was one. Berneal told me "the kids" did a fantastic job putting on their celebration.
The St. Mary's Parish Bulletin also printed the names of several other couples celebrating their years together in the year 2002, all of them renewing their vows:
Erwin and Florence Cardinal, 62 years; Leo and Edna Vieau, 60; Lawrence and Irene Antil, 59;
Roger and Mary Ann Gerardy, 57; Lawrence and Beatrice Gagnon, 55; Marvin and Cecilia Decker, 55; Ed and Sue Perra, 55; Myron and Isabelle Yager, 54;
Milt and Dorothy Jensen, 52; Ed and Florence Marketon, 52; Russ and Pat Gilmer, 52; Lawrence and Jeanne Corteau, 52; Wally and Arlene Peterson, 51;
Joe and Mary Reardon, 51; Cyril and Mary Ann Dressen, 50; Stan and Lorraine Kittock, 49; George and Pat Schaar, 49; Leighton and Gen Johnson, 47; Don and Mary Klingelhoets, 44; Walter and Jackie Marketon, 43; Val and Joann Le Page, 41;
Curtis and Joanne Poppler, 37; Dale and Agnes Lorentz, 37; Mike and Mary Dongoski; Gerald and Joan Karol, 34; Riley and Lynn Hoheisel, 34; Steve and Susie Decker, 33; Joe and Patty Campbell, 32; Ed and Dorothy Brabec, 32; Ken and Karen Borrell, 32;
Greg and Faye Bakeberg, 31; Tom and Vickie Dalbec, 31; Mike and Sheila Gilmer, 30; Joe and Trudy O'Connell, 28; Bob and Mary Nowak, 28; Larry and Darlene Mader, 27; Ted and Deb Hanson, 25;
Pat and Jessica Salonek, 24; Ted and Judy Painschab, 24; Mike and Wanda Gagnon, 22; Pat and Dawn Kittock, 22; Mark and Ginny Karels, 21; Ted and Lois Nichols, 21; Tom and Maureen Ogle, 20;
Paul and Agnes Schmitz, 17; Jay and Mary Pettit, 16; Jeff and Patty Lehner, 16; Perry and Kathryn Grieger, 16; Jay and Mary Pettit, 16; Mike and Carol Wren, 15; Ed and Janice Schmitz, 15; Steve and Deb Hoese, 15;
Daniel and Patricia Maas, 13; Aaron and Stacy Horsch, 13; Wayne and Rhonda Decker, 10; Marvin and Gayle Karels, 8; Jerry and Maureen Decker, 2; and Gary and Allyson Dressel, 2.
This list reminds me of the priest who had too many funerals and not enough weddings.
After two funerals in one day, he had a wedding. At the conclusion of the wedding blessing, he said, with his hands extended over the couple, "And may they rest in peace."
And here below is some good advice for all those married folks. I swiped it from Ann Landers, who, in turn, stole it from a poet named Veronica A. Shoffstall. The poem is called "After a While."
For Jerome and Berneal Decker, and a lot of other Waverly folks, it's been a long, long while, even though none of them will ever admit it any more than they will admit that grandchildren aren't always a blessing. I have a cousin with 32 grandchildren who says that grandchildren are highly overrated.
Some of you may remember her. Evelyn O'Leary, who went to school at St. Mary's in Waverly when she lived with us for a while.
Her best friend was Ann Althoff Neaton.
After awhile, you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul;
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning, and company doesn't mean security;
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises;
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open, with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child;
And to learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans, and futures have a way of falling down in midflight.
After a while, you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much, so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure . . .
That you really are strong.
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn . . .
With every goodbye you learn.
Veronica A Shoffstall.
(Thank you, Ann Landers. You have walked among us and our nation was better for it.)
Now that she is gone and can no longer give any more advice, my advice to you is to buy her book called The Ann Landers Encyclopedia, which covers all subjects in alphabetical order from abortion to zits.
For a number of years this was the book I gave as presents to high school graduates.
Her information in the book is brief, organized, accessible, and informative just like her columns. The only thing I ever disagreed with Ann Landers on was her neutrality on abortion.
Much of her stuff was common sense but, as Abraham Lincoln observed, common sense is rather uncommon.
Witness the sale of lottery tickets. Watch the patterns of American voters. Part of Ann Landers' success was that if she didn't know something about a subject, she would call on an expert and use his or her advice.
Since she was Jewish, she wasn't entirely comfortable with non-Jewish religious questions.
One of her Catholic experts, and close friend and neighbor, was Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in Chicago. When he became bedridden, Ann was a daily visitor. She was at his bedside at the time of his death Nov. 14, 1996.
The last two months of her life were filled with the same devastating cancer suffered by Cardinal Bernardin. May she rest in peace.
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