Fred and Jean Gramann have accomplished a major relationship feat.
They arrived at their second diamond anniversary, 75 years of marriage, on Monday, June 11.
Very few couples make it to their diamond anniversary, with the University of Minnesota’s Population Center estimating in 2005 that there are about 1,000 couples in the U.S. that have been married 75 years. According to data specialist David Drozd, of all the married couples in the U.S. in 2011, only .01 percent had been married for 70 years.
Fred and Jean did not point to one “secret” to their marriage, but shared a few things that contributed to their marriage’s success.
“I think the main reason we’ve enjoyed so much of life is just that we appreciate each other. We’ve done a lot of things together. We actually became quite proficient at dancing,” Fred Gramann said.
“That was an enjoyable part of our life, something that we could do together,” his wife Jean added.
They also enjoyed traveling together to France several times to visit their son.
Fred and Jean’s story started in Seattle in the 1940s. They both graduated from Cleveland High School in Seattle in 1942 and wanted to get married right away, but Fred’s parents would not give their blessing until Fred had completed a year of college. Fred and Jean were married in 1943, but two months later, Fred was drafted into the Army.
“Originally, I was in the infantry, but I was transferred to a base command in the South Pacific, and I was on the island of Saipan for almost two years,” Fred said. “I made a lot of maps, that was my specialty. I was very fortunate. I turned in my gun and instead made a lot of maps and charts.”
Jean talked about being separated from her new husband during the war. She worked as a secretary for her father-in-law, and the work kept her going while her husband was gone.
“It was hard. We were separated for most of that time and had been married just two months, and that was really difficult. But it all worked out, we were so happy to see each other after the two years that had gone by,” Jean said.
After the war, Fred went back to school and received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in teaching. He was hired as the principal at Enumclaw High School in 1957 and moved his family to Enumclaw. After receiving his doctorate and working as the principal for 10 years, he became the Superintendent of the Bethel School District.
Fred also served on the city council in the 60s. The city liked him so much that after he retired, he was asked to come back, and served two more terms.
“We’re very fortunate to live in Enumclaw,” Fred said.
“It’s a great place to raise a family,” Jean added.
Of everything that they have accomplished in their lives, Fred and Jean have the most pride in their family and the legacy they have left, sharing about the achievements of their three children — Robert, Fred Jr., and Judy — six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.