70 years of marriage, one day at a time, for Fern and Jim Voss
Jim Voss has some sage advice for newlyweds. Take it one day at a time.
Voss and his wife Fern celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Sunday, with a party from 3 to 5 p.m. at Glen Valley Care and Rehabilitation Center in Glenwood Springs.
Fern Whitford and Jim Voss were married March 6, 1932, in Marion, Kan.
The couple came to Glenwood Springs in the late 1940s and lived here ever since.
When Jim met Fern, he was a cowboy on a cattle ranch. Fern and her family lived next door, but in rural central Kansas, the neighbors were about half a mile away.
“Our mailboxes were close together. She was my mail lady,” Jim said, referring to the fact that Fern used to collect his mail and bring it around to him.
It was hard finding time to be together, Jim said.
“I didn’t have time to go dancing,” he said.
Nor did Fern, who helped care for her nine brothers and sisters on the family ranch.
When her family moved to a ranch 60 miles away, “that was trouble,” Jim said. “On weekends I’d go over there to see her. We went together for about three years. Going home one night I told her, `We’re going to have to cut this out.'”
So he proposed, and Fern accepted.
Jim and Fern stayed on the ranch where he worked for a few years, until the owner sold out. Then he was offered a job on a ranch near Colorado Springs.
He’d spent a little time during his childhood in Colorado and wanted to get back. And he was anxious to get away from Kansas.
“There were too many tornados and wind storms. Sometimes we’d be getting the corn crop in and from Oklahoma we’d get these wind storms that would burn the crop,” he said. “It would get to be 110 in the shade, if you could find any shade.”
About five years later, Jim was offered a job as a ranch hand on a place near Glenwood Springs, and at better pay. He accepted.
He worked on various ranches in the Glenwood Springs area over the years. Then he went to work for Safeway.
“When I turned 65, they told me I had to quit, so I went to work for myself. I bought three or four lawn mowers. I made a lot more money than at Safeway,” he said.
He and Fern bought a trailer home, where Fern made a garden.
“We had a garden patch and a `tater patch, and a few chickens,” Jim said.
JIm loved to hunt and fish and camp out.
Hunting, he said, “was a lot of fun, but it was more work than it was fun.”
According to a personal history recorded in 2000 when Fern and Jim moved into Glen Valley, they sold their trailer in 1980 and moved into senior housing in Rifle. Three years later, the trailer buyers defaulted on their loan, and the Vosses moved back to the trailer for a few years.
In 1985, they moved back into senior housing permanently.
At Glen Valley, the couple enjoys walking and the birthday parties. They attend the Glenwood Springs Church of the Nazarene.
They share a spacious room filled with photographs and mementos of their life together.
For Jim, the secret of a long marriage is “taking it one year and one day at a time. There’s no secret to it,” he said. “We both worked hard.”
“He’s as sharp as a whip,” said Glen Valley activities director George Little. “He really cares for his wife. He watches over her day and night.”
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