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Couple celebrates 60th anniversary on Independence DaySubmitted: 07/05/2013
Story By Lex Gray


TOMAHAWK - "We met in a little bar in Gleason, place we used to hang out," says Neal Olkives.

"He happened to walk in and I said to my girlfriend, 'There�s a nice-lookin� guy,'" says Isabel. "He came and asked me to dance."

"We�ve been together ever since," says Neal.

Isabel and Neal Olkives started dating in 1951. Only wartime kept them apart.

"I was scheduled to go, had to go to service pretty quick," says Neal. "My buddy had already left in June, and I figured I was going to go soon."

That�s how the Olkives ended up with a rather unique anniversary: July 4, 1953.

"It happened to be the Saturday that fit in. Didn�t think anything of it being a holiday," says Neal. "We knew when the two brothers were going to get married, so we fit it in between, so that�s how it happened."

Neal shipped off to Missouri, then Germany, then Kansas. He was gone for four years, four months, and four days.

Of all their July 4th anniversaries, Isabel remembers one especially well.

"When he came back from Germany, that was kind of special, because he met our oldest son for the first time."

After Neal finished his service, the couple moved to southern Wisconsin.

But the Northwoods eventually drew them back. Now, they get to relive a wedding memory in Tomahawk almost every year.

"After we were married at the Harrison church, we came to town on Somo, and the parade was going on," says Neal.

"They put us in the parade, kind of by accident," says Isabel. "Our car was decorated, so the cop just kind of waved us in."

A July 4th parade makes for a unique start to a marriage. Maybe that�s the key to lasting 60 years. But the Olkives have other tricks, too.

"One thing, we never go to bed mad at each other," says Isabel. "Regardless of if we had a little tiff during the day, we still manage to kiss goodnight."

"Secret to 60 years? Never let the honeymoon go. That�s it," says Neal. "Every day is a new wedding day. Without all the frills, but nevertheless - when you get up in the morning and you look at your partner and she�s glowing on the side of the bed, you just know, that�s the way it oughta be."

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