Mobrys mark 70 years with trip down memory lane

FAIRMONT – Russell and Betty Mobry took a ride down memory lane Saturday, figuratively and literally.

The Fairmont couple, who married Aug. 23, 1943, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Friday.

What’s their secret for a long marriage?

“I always tell everybody I let him have the last word – ‘Yes, dear,'” Betty said.

“We made a commitment,” Russell said. “We said we’d take care of each other. When I got in trouble, she pulled me out, and when she got in trouble, I’d pull her out.”

They wanted to keep the celebration simple, so on Friday they ate lunch at the Cottage Cafe in Amboy and then visited the Huntley depot.

“I wanted to see that,” said Russell, who worked 46 years for Milwaukee Railroad and retired in 1980.

One thing Betty has wanted to see is the old parsonage for St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church on Blue Earth Avenue in Fairmont, where her mother used to keep house for the priest. Betty attended school and church at St. Peter & Paul, and the Mobrys were married at the church.

She had especially wanted to see what it looked like since the Martin County Historical Society had renovated the building, but hadn’t been able to get to the building during the hours they were open.

The Mobrys had another reason for wanting to view the renovations: Remodeling homes is a hobby of theirs.

The Mobrys raised eight children while living in and renovating14 houses all over the country. They now have 16 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, and they are renovating the home in which they currently live.

Thinking about redesigns and redecorating “keeps them vital,” said daughter Susanna Skripnik.

Betty’s wish was granted by the Historical Society, when volunteer Norman Langford agreed to open the house Saturday as a treat for the Mobrys’ anniversary.

To make the day extra special, the Borderline Cruisers classic car club of Fairmont gave the couple a ride to the parsonage. Much to their surprise, a parade of 10 classic cars arrived at the Mobrys’ house.

“Cars kept coming and coming,” Russell said.

The couple rode with Wayne Quade in his 1937 yellow Plymouth. The back was decorated with ribbons and a sign that read: “Just Married – 70 Years Ago.”

The ride took them downtown, through the parks and over the new Lair Road bridge between Hall and Budd lakes. The couple reminisced about old stores that used to be, Quade said.

“A lot of history in Fairmont that’s gone,” he said. “Only places that’s left is in your memory.”

One of the places that still existed is the parsonage, which was built in 1910, Langford said.

With Langford as a guide, the couple walked through the house, as Betty exclaimed over the renovations and recalled how it used to look when she was young. She and Skripnik climbed the original front staircase and looked through the upstairs rooms, which was divided into apartments in the 1960s, according to the Historical Society’s website.

“I’m so pleased,” Betty said.