Some people would call Robert and Louise Miller’s 65-year marriage “a match made in heaven.” Others will tell you, perhaps only half jokingly, that it may rank even a step higher, that being “a match made in Ottoville.”
The Miller families have been well known around Ottoville with Miller Brother Clay Works being a leading employer at one time in the close-knit village. Louise was a Horstman, an equally familiar name in Putnam County. When Robert and Louise walked out of Immaculate Conception Church as newlyweds on that Thanksgiving Day in 1955, happiness followed.
Sure they had their worries. There are always worries. But their generation seemed to grow up with a foot on the gas pedal, never looking back as they searched for what could be. That November Dwight D. Eisenhower was re-elected president, defeating Adlai Stevenson, and there were no cries for a recount. Young people enjoyed “rocking around the clock” as jukeboxes blared the music of Bill Haley & His Comets. If you had a 50-cent piece, you could buy a movie ticket to see James Dean in “East of Eden” and get a penny back in change.
Today, those simple times often feel like they were, well, 65 years ago. Robert and Louise are in their 80s now and both have felt the scourge of 2020 — recently testing positive for COVID-19. Louise ended up quarantining at home for nearly three weeks while Robert, or “Cookie” as his friends call him, found himself in isolation at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
“It was rough on them, especially Dad,” said their son Mike Miller, who was a longtime radio personality in Lima and now is the broadcaster for Findlay High School football and basketball games. “Mom’s familiar enough with today’s technology that she could communicate with others, but cell phones and that are not so much Dad.”
Louise called the last few months one of the toughest times in their 65 years of marriage.
“People ask how do you make a marriage last so long and I give the standard answer, ‘learn to say yes dear and compromise.’ With this virus, there’s no compromising. We were lucky we had four kids that checked up on us, and St. Rita’s provided great care for Robert,” said Louise.
Their anniversary on Tuesday will be a quieter one. Robert has been released from St. Rita’s, but for now plays it safe as he stays at their home on state Route 66. Their daughter, Lynn, is a physical therapist and keeps a close eye on him as does son, Terry, and daughter Laura.
“We did have plans for our anniversary, but this is the year 2020. Plans change,” said Louise.
What hasn’t changed is Louise’s strong faith. She’s still an organist at Immaculate Conception Church. On Sunday, Mike and Laura took Mom to Mass to mark their parent’s anniversary.
That was a special moment for Louise.
“Despite what we’re all going through,” she said, “We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.”
ROSES AND THORNS: Another spot is held in the rose garden for a local politician.
Rose: To state Rep. Bob Cupp. He was re-elected last week as speaker of the Ohio House. That gives Allen County a sweep of the top posts in the legislature. A week earlier Matt Huffman was named senate president.
Rose: Area clubs, organizations and civic groups are doing their best to keep COVID-19 from spoiling the holidays. Precautions will be taken for community dinners on Thanksgiving, drive-through events are being planned for Christmas celebrations and Santa will return to talk with children — at a social distance.
Thorn: The Lima Police Department suspends Lt. Andy Green, a 20-year veteran, but won’t tell the public why.
Thorn: At times during a public meeting about a proposed solar farm in southwest Allen County, residents yelled instead of listened to the answers to their questions.
PARTING SHOT: Family is where life begins and love never ends.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.