80 years of wedded bliss

Shari Gasper photo

Ted and Alice Rortvedt of Windsor recently celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary.

The stories easily flow from one to another in an easy conversation as Ted and Alice Rortvedt talk about their years together.

In the 1930s, they lived on a dollar a day, only buying what was absolutely necessary.

After renting farms for a few years, they purchased a 60-acre "fixer upper" farm in Sun Prairie and spent about eight years rebuilding it.

They raised four healthy, happy children who added 18 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren to their family.

In retirement, they toured the United States and Canada by motor home and traveled to Libya, Spain, Haiti, New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica and more.

Married for 80 years, the Rortvedts have a lifetime of memories to share.

Ted, age 100, and Alice, age 98, celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on May 9 with a gathering of 70 family members at Rex's Innkeeper in Waunakee.

Their anniversary party was much different than their quiet wedding celebration in 1932.

"We got married by the Justice of Peace in Portage, Wis.," said Ted. "Then we went out for dinner with my sister and her husband."

The two first met in Minnesota when Alice was working for Ted's brother's mother-in-law.

"She's always been a good woman, a hard worker," said Ted.

Both came from large farm families: Alice had nine siblings and Ted had six. Ted's parents divorced when he was in his early teens. Ted remembered his dad treating his mom terribly, and he vowed if he ever got married, he would never treat his wife that way. He held true to his word.

"We got along well," said Alice.

She also said they were careful to live within their means, never buying anything before they had saved the money.

Both worked off the farm as well. Ted drove truck for 25 years and Alice worked at Oscar Meyer for 26 years.

The Rortvedts remember the days when Ted could buy a pair of overalls for 98 cents from J.C. Penney and Alice a dress for 37 cents from Montgomery Ward.

"Times were hard, but we never felt sorry for ourselves," said Alice.

Rather, they felt blessed to have each other and to raise their family as they preferred in the country on a farm.

Alice and Ted enjoy their current home at Parkside Village 55+ Independent Living in Windsor, but miss their farm.

After 80 years of marriage, the Rortvedts still feel the same about each other. Alice is quick to put her hand on Ted's shoulder in a loving gesture, and both smile as they talk about their life together.

"We've had a couple of arguments over the years," said Ted. "But we wouldn't be married if we didn't."

Both felt their strong marriage came from never fighting in front of their kids, not being stuck in their ways and working as a team.

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