Anniversary: High school sweethearts celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

By From page B7 | November 09, 2012


DIAMOND SPRINGS RESIDENTS Clarence and Irene Klemm celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on April 11. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

In 1942, the United States was in the middle of World War II against Germany and Japan. Future Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney was born, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Yankees in five games to win the World Series.

On April 11 of the same year, Clarence Klemm married Irene Reinhardt. On the same date of this year, the Diamond Springs couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with two of their three adult children, Susan and Thomas, plus their five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter who is 6 months old.

Dale, who was the oldest son of Clarence and Irene, passed away in 1979 from hepatitis.

Clarence is 90 and Irene is 89.

The high school sweethearts were born and raised in the Fresno area. They attended the same Lutheran church. They graduated from Edison High School in Fresno in 1941.

After they married, the couple moved to Vallejo where Clarence worked as an apprentice, making $4.98 a day.

In January 1943, Clarence joined the Air Force and served in World War II. He loaded ammunition and bombs onto airplanes in the Solomon Islands. Clarence moved up fast in the military rankings, reaching master sergeant when the war ended. Irene lived with family until Clarence came home.

“That was quite an ordeal,” said Clarence of the war.

Working and going to college

After the war, the couple resumed their lives in Vallejo. Clarence return to work as an engineer, and Irene worked as an insurance agent. While working as an engineer, Clarence earned his BA and MA from University of California, Berkeley in engineering.

Upon earning his teaching credentials, Clarence worked as an industrial teacher at Vallejo High School, and also taught adult education at night. Then he worked as a trainer for Exxon until spring of 1983, when he and Irene retired.

In June 1983, the couple decided to buy their mobile home in Diamond Springs where they still live today.

“We had friends who lived across the lake (from where the couple resides) and there was an open house (at the mobile home park where they live),” Irene said.

The couple has enjoyed seeing the growth of the Placerville area since 1983.

“When we moved up here, (Missouri Flat Road), there was only one car on the road and that was us,” joked Irene.

Golfing and fishing

In the years of living in Diamond Springs, Clarence has enjoyed golfing and fishing. His favorite spot is the lake right next to the couple’s mobile home.

One of the couples’ favorite vacations during their marriage was in the mid-late 1990s when they went on a Caribbean cruise.

Glen Miller and Lawrence Welk are the couples’ favorite musicians.

They enjoy watching reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show on TV.

“They don’t miss it,” said Thomas.

Irene added, “every Saturday night.”

The couple were glued to their TV during this year’s World Series, rooting for the San Francisco Giants to win their second title in three seasons.

“That was fantastic,” Irene said. “To me, that baseball team (Giants) is one happy family.”

Played baseball

Clarence played baseball for a team consisting of other apprentices after the war. He clearly recalls a game in which he started the game as the pitcher, then played catcher and finished the game in the outfield.

“The fellows who were playing baseball with me never played baseball in their life,” Clarence said.

Is there a secret to a long-lasting marriage? Irene sums it up in one sentence.

“Take the bad with the good,” she said.

One of their classmates from Edison High School called the couple last month to see how they’re doing and wish them continued success.

Both of Irene’s brothers still live in the Fresno area.

Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter. 

Mike Bush

Mike Bush has been a Staff Writer at the Mountain Democrat since August 2011. Follow him on Twitter @MBushMtDemo
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