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Duluth couple to celebrate 65th anniversary

Leonard and Beth Bauman's relationship began as an attraction that developed into love over time at St. Cloud Teacher's College. "We were going to be busy teachers. We didn't have time for that," Beth explained. Leonard chimed in, "We were busy g...

Leonard and Beth Bauman's relationship began as an attraction that developed into love over time at St. Cloud Teacher's College.

"We were going to be busy teachers. We didn't have time for that," Beth explained. Leonard chimed in, "We were busy going to college."

A few years later, on Aug. 8, 1950, they became husband and wife in a 10 a.m. Catholic Mass ceremony followed by a brunch celebration.

"In those days, weddings were much more simple than they are now," Beth said.

The Duluth couple will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this weekend with 10 of their 11 children, 30 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

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"It's been amazing being a part of their lives and watching them role model for us," daughter Karen Bauman said.

Karen credits her parents' religious faith and faith in each other for staying committed through the ups and downs of their 65-year marriage.

"Their generosity for each other has been a real inspiration for me and my marriage. Understanding that you give to give, not because you expect anything in return, but because giving is what we're here for," Karen said.

It also helped that they had their own interests and identities, in addition to a sense of humor, she said.

Leonard, 90, grew up on a farm north of Minneapolis during the Great Depression, attending a four-room country school. He graduated from Minneapolis' Edison High School in 1942 and served in the U.S. Army's 94th Reconnaissance Troop in Europe during World War II.

"I didn't know him until he was out of the service. I was grateful for that," Beth said.

Beth, 85, grew up on a farm and attended school in Benson, Minn. She and all her neighbors were in the same situation of having little.

"But we had enough to eat because we lived on a farm. We had a huge garden and chickens and the cows and the pigs were all harvested so we ate well," Beth said.

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The experiences of living through the Great Depression and World War II has helped them in their lives since then, Beth said.

"We learned to live without unless we needed," she said.

They met at the Newman Club at the teacher's college and dating consisted of attending college-sponsored events. Money was short, so they attended events for free at the school, they explained.

Leonard didn't formally propose, Beth said, explaining, "It was just an understanding."

"It was a mutual agreement without words being spoken," Leonard added.

Beth also didn't want an engagement ring.

"So I asked him, I would get my ears pierced and he could give me diamond earrings for that and I would give him a French cuff shirt and I would give him the cufflinks for it. That's what we worked out," Beth said. Leonard finished, "For an engagement exchange."

They didn't want to go back to farm life after graduation, and instead moved to South Dakota first before moving to St. Paul. Then a teaching position opened in Ely, where they lived until moving to Duluth 2001.

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Leonard primarily taught fourth grade, plus a few years of fifth and sixth grades, in Ely until he retired in 1986. Beth taught for two years before their first child was born and then she put her teaching skills to use mothering her 11 children and operating a daycare for 13 years.

Beth said that their 11 children enjoyed growing up Ely - unless they got into trouble because the whole town knew the red-haired Bauman kids.

They were outdoor kids and a household rule was that they couldn't go outside until 8 a.m.

"I used to have to stand in front of the door so they didn't go out and wake the neighbors," she said.

When it came to disagreements, their faith helped them through it, Beth said.

"We have our differences of opinion, but we don't get into fights," he said, while Beth joked, "Well, I haven't hit you with a frying pan yet."

"First, make sure you love each other," Leonard began his marriage advice. "Be willing to give and take."

"Probably give a little more than take. And be kind," Beth added. Leonard agreed, "Oh, absolutely. Be kind."

Leonard continued, "We are blessed. We've had a good life. Some ups and downs, yes, but it's been a good life."

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