Valentines for more than seven decades
HARLAN -- Raymond Anastasi’s words of advice for a successful marriage are “Never get angry with each other and help each other. Love, respect, common sense and laugh a lot!”
Raymond and his wife, Frances “Frankie”, have been each other’s Valentines for more than seven decades. The couple was married on September 14, 1948 at St. Mary’s Our Lady of Fatima Church in Portsmouth. They remained active members of that church until they moved to Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan three years ago.
Raising a family of five
The couple are both Shelby County natives. Raymond started farming in Westphalia on the Anastasi home place with his dad, Carl, and brothers, Earl and LeRoy. He was helping at the Urban Henscheid farm one day when he met Frankie Springman. She was also working for the Henscheids.
Raymond’s first thoughts at meeting Frankie were “she’s mine.” Frankie’s first thoughts about Raymond were “pretty nice.”
After they were married they lived on the Anastasi family farm before moving to Portsmouth. Their kids say their mom always kept the home fires burning. She had a big garden and loved to can and bake. Raymond also enjoyed cooking. When they entertained guests, they both would work in the kitchen.
Raymond and Frankie raised four daughters: Carolyn, Janice, Patricia and Shirley and one son, Duane.
“All those girls kept that one boy busy looking after them,” said Raymond.
“In the early days, they loved to go to dances and would load up the kids as young marrieds in those days did and take the babies long,” said daughter Carolyn Foutch.
In addition to farming, Raymond drove truck at night for LaSourd Trucking in Portsmouth. He also worked for Grote Construction and Leinen Hardware. His last job prior to retirement was with Rural Water in Avoca where he worked for 25 years.
“Mom worked for many years as the woman who kept it all together at home. Cooking, cleaning, canning, laundry and sewing. Dad always referred to her as the ‘glue that held us together,’” said Foutch.
Spending time with
family top priority
Volunteering at St. Mary’s Our Lady of Fatima Church was important to both Raymond and Frankie. They both worked at the parish picnics. He helped with odds and ends at the church like wiring and plumbing. She was a CCD teacher and later was part of the quilting group associated with the church.
After the kids had left home, Frankie worked at the Baptist Memorial Home (now Elm Crest) in the laundry room for 25 years. Following both their retirements, the couple spent time gardening, canning, quilting and genealogy together. They enjoyed each other’s company like putting puzzles together, traveling to see the kids that didn’t live close and making many trips to the city just “because”.
Spending time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren is a top priority for Raymond and Frankie. The couple hosted many get-togethers at their home and enjoyed every minute of it. They often stated about their grandchildren, “if we’d known they were so much fun we would’ve had them first”.
Their family includes Carolyn Foutch, Portsmouth; Janice Bonds, Harlan; Duane (Deb) Anastasi, Klamath Falls, OR; Patricia (Tom) Sondag, Harlan; and Shirley (Dan) Richards, LaVista, NE. The couple has 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Raymond reflected on how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their lives as residents at Elm Crest.
“If we were at home it would be different, but that wasn’t possible. In the beginning I was able to visit with mom (Frankie) in memory care as often as I wanted. With COVID that has become limited and when at its worst here we were apart for two months. That was hard on both of us. You do what you got to do I guess,” said Raymond.
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