Garfield County couple celebrate 75th wedding anniversary
Joan and Phil Anderson still together after all these years
Expressing great astonishment, Joan Anderson pressed her hands to her cheeks when asked about celebrating her 75th wedding anniversary with her husband, Phil.
“It went by so fast,” she said. “Since we’re retired now, we’re slowing down. But we’ve had a wonderful life.”
Joan and Phil Anderson, who officially commemorate their marriage milestone today, are well-known around the Garfield County community as owners of the now-gone Glenwood Springs retail store Anderson’s Pants Pocket.
After moving to Glenwood Springs in 1954, in fact, the two former merchants — now in their early 90s — would become one of the premier retailers on Grand Avenue.
Some old-timers may even remember when Phil led an effort to remove all parking meters in the downtown area. This was in response to West Glenwood’s mall opening in the early 1970s.
Monica Miller, Phil’s daughter, said Phil intended to retain and attract commerce to Grand Avenue by having free parking.
“Everyone signed a parking meter,” she said. “My dad kept it on his desk.”
For the past two years, this golden-aged couple have lived together at Renew Roaring Fork, an assisted living center in Glenwood Springs.
But even after all this time, the couple continues to sit side-by-side in their room and love each other.
“Joanie has been a very good partner,” Phil said.
Joan and Phil have known each other since the Great Depression. They grew up in Holdrege, Nebraska, attending the same church, living on farms just outside of town.
“Joan lived 2 miles north of Holdrege, and I lived 1 mile east of Holdrege,” Phil said. “We went to the same church, and we always went on Sundays, unless we were sick.”
“Our parents went to the same church, so almost knew her in diapers.”
Growing up during these times was rough, according to Miller.
“Even though they lived on a farm, there wasn’t cash available,” she said. “They sold eggs to get cash. It was a difficult time.”
Things started to turn a corner, however, after Joan and Phil decided to get engaged.
“When we got engaged, Joanie’s mother had a dinner party, and my parents were invited,” Phil said. “After we had the dinner, her dad said, ‘If they even think of coming home, lock the door.’”
The two married in 1947, at the age of 18. With little money, Joan said Phil would borrow his brother’s Ford Model T so they could go on their honeymoon. They ended about 50 miles east, in Hastings, Nebraska.
Around this time, Phil was operating a Hesteds Department Store. They’d move around for eight years before, finally, Phil would come to own a Hesteds in Glenwood Springs.
“When we moved here, there was one day cop and one night cop,” Phil said. “There were no stoplights.”
In 1974 was when Phil opened up Anderson’s, which Miller eventually took over and operated until it closed in 2014.
Throughout this time, the Andersons’ shop was like a gathering place for the community. Fellow merchants would take breaks and all flock there for coffee. Meanwhile, Phil would hold quirky, small-town promotional events.
“Denim started attracting young customers with a new trend in jeans,” Miller said. “There was one particular time when dad had an inflatable pair of Levi’s at the store, and people needed to guess how many stitches were in it.”
Meanwhile, the Andersons would spend their off-time traveling the world together, visiting places like England, Germany and Greece.
“They are really tight. They are so close,” Miller said. “People would comment on how kind they were to each other when they traveled. Their relationship is outstanding.”
For Joan and Phil, as they prepare to celebrate their anniversary today (Renew is also holding a ball for them Thursday), they said they don’t have any travel plans coming up because, they joked, “We got lost and confused pretty easily.”
But they do have a bit of advice for maintaining a long-lasting relationship: Don’t think your decisions are always the right ones every time, and listen to each other.
“We enjoy each other,” Joan said. “And we talk about old times quite often.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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