Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fifty years — city and country and loving both


RALPH AND SHARON Hern, both 71, are celebrating 50 years of marriage. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

From page B6 | July 04, 2014 |

Ralph and Sharon Hern, both 71, are planners. They planned their marriage to take place after Sharon graduated from San Jose State University in 1964; they planned their family after five years of career and travel; they planned to enjoy both rural and urban lifestyles and they planned to have a good time doing it.

When they met in 1961, in their second year at San Jose State, it was because their apartments were next door to each other. Ralph was an accounting major, planning to go into the FBI.

“Accountants and lawyers were all the FBI was hiring,” said Ralph.

Sharon, a nursing major at the time who later switched to administration, said, “I had one date with his roommate and Ralph came along. I decided to heck with the roommate, so I checked the roster of classes to find out where he would be.”

Then she managed to show up at just the right moment.

Good planning

Sharon’s stalking apparently worked because the two became engaged in December of 1963 with plans to marry in June 1964.

“I wanted to be a June bride,” said Sharon, “and my dad wanted me to be 21.”

Sharon also knew exactly where she wanted to be married — in the Pioneer Chapel in Hayward where both she and her grandfather were christened. It didn’t matter that the chapel, built in the 1860s, was closed  and water damaged. The chapel was opened and tidied up and the wedding took place on June 28, 1964.

While Ralph finished college and then became employed as a police officer and firefighter for the city of Sunnyvale, Sharon worked as a manager at Pacific Bell Telephone. The two spent five years exploring the world and each other before starting their family.

Family time

Two sons were born, Todd, in 1969 and Tracy in 1972. Sharon stayed home until the boys started school and then went to work in the Santa Clara School District.

Wanting to give the boys an outdoors lifestyle as well as city advantages, the Herns bought five acres in Swansboro. With the aid of friends and family, they designed and built a house there, planning for retirement in the future.

“When we saw there was an airport here, that was a definite advantage,” said Ralph, who had his pilot’s license and flew up in the summers on his days off to join his family.

Ralph retired as commander of the Department of Public Safety and Sharon as director of Child Nutrition Services in 1994 after their sons were on their own.

New chapter

“Then we started a new chapter in Swansboro,” said Ralph.

Both immediately became involved in the tight-knit Swansboro community and continue to be.

Ralph is active in the Mosquito Volunteer Fire Fighters Association which has, in conjunction with the Georgetown and El Dorado Resource Conservation Districts, rebuilt Finnon Dam.

Sharon is currently the secretary of the Swansboro County Property Owners Association and has been a big part of the community organization which puts on a Halloween party, an Easter egg hunt and makes Christmas baskets for the needy.

One of their sons, Todd, and his family live in Swansboro  in a home that Ralph built, while Tracy and his family live in the Bay Area.

The couple has four grandchildren — three grandsons and one granddaughter, or, as Ralph says, “Three slaves and a princess.”

Checking the list

“The greatest joy in the last few years is sharing vacations with our sons and their families,” said Sharon.

The couple has climbed the Great Wall in China, visited the Valley of Kings in Egypt, walked through the Acropolis in Greece and gone behind the Iron Curtain when there still was an Iron Curtain.

“We’ve done just about everything on our to-do list,” said Sharon. “Now we are thinking about what things we want to do again.”

She paused and said, “When we planned the parties for our parents’ 50th wedding anniversaries (both sets of parents celebrated golden anniversaries), I looked at them and thought they were really old. Now that we’ve been married 50 years, I don’t feel that old.”

“Our lives have turned out better than we ever expected,” said Ralph. “We have always been a team from the beginning. I respected her and she respected me.”

The couple is planning to spend a few days at the coast by themselves in lieu of a big anniversary party.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.





Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery



My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4



EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery



At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8