Bonner couple celebrates 63rd Anniversary

Roberta Daniel, seated, plays the organ that she and her husband, Gerry Daniel, purchased for their 50th Anniversary, as Gerry looks on. The Bonner Springs couple will celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary Feb. 20. Enlarge photo

February 15, 2012

It was love on wheels for Gerry and Roberta Daniel.

Well, not quite — while the Bonner Springs couple did meet at a roller skating rink in the 1940s, they say they were friends for a year before they started dating. And after celebrating their 64th Valentine’s Day together, Gerry, 85, and Roberta, 83, will mark 63 years of marriage on Feb. 20.

“I don’t know that we’ll make it another 63,” Gerry jokes, “but it’s been good.”

Gerry was born in Missouri, was raised in Des Moines and spent two years in the Army before moving to Atchison in 1947 and becoming a firefighter. Roberta was raised west of Atchison in Lancaster, and it was a year after Gerry moved to Atchison when they met at the roller rink.

“A bunch of us in a group, we’d walk 10 blocks to go skating,” Roberta said. “It wasn’t like all these kids nowadays who have cars.”

For about the first year of their acquaintance, they were just friends. Roberta says she’s not sure when their feelings turned romantic.

“I don’t know — it was too long ago,” she said. “I think it was just a friendship that developed.”

Similarly, they don’t remember many of the details of how they decided to get married after a year of dating, though Roberta said she knows Gerry gave her an engagement ring in his car the night of the fireman’s ball in Atchison.

“I remember when he gave me my ring, right after he slipped it on my finger, he ran out of gas,” she said.

The Daniels moved to Bonner Springs in 1957 when Gerry got a job as an electrician in Turner. Eventually, they opened their own businesses. Gerry had an electrical supply and contracting business, and Roberta operated her craft shop out of the same building.

They had three sons and now have four grandchildren.

Marital longevity seems to run in Roberta’s family — her twin sister celebrated a 63rd wedding anniversary on July 4 last year. But the Daniels say they don’t know if there’s a secret to a long-lasting marriage.

“We pretty well enjoy the same things,” Roberta suggests. She notes they both were involved in their church and helped their sons in Boy Scouts.

“We just can get along,” Gerry said. “We worked together 20 years in business without any major fights. And we built our house together.”

They moved to Nettleton Manor six years ago. They keep busy — Roberta still makes all of Gerry’s shirts in her sewing room, and they enjoy Roberta playing the electric organ they purchased for their 50th Anniversary.

“It’s a nice place to spend the rest of your days,” Gerry said. “You don’t have to cut grass and you don’t have to pay taxes.”

The Daniels will have a pizza party to celebrate their anniversary in the lobby on their floor of Nettleton Manor.

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