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High School Sweethearts Celebrate 70 Years of Marriage

Joe and Violet Luecke share their wisdom on finding lasting love.

There’s still a sparkle in Joe Luecke’s eyes when he looks at his bride, Violet. 

“They say, ‘How do you stay married?’” Joe said. “First, you find a girl who’s pretty; then she has to be smart; and then she has to be flexible.”

Joe should know: He and Violet have been married for 70 years.

The Lueckes celebrated their platinum anniversary just one week before Valentine’s Day at in Darien. They’re one of two married couples living together in the retirement home.  

Joe and Violet, both 93, met at their Chicago Heights high school. Their courtship reads like a classic romantic comedy.

When they met, Joe had a girlfriend and Violet had a boyfriend. Joe, a high school basketball star, asked his girlfriend to come to one of his games. When her mom told her she had to skip the game to go to church, Joe’s sister gave him another idea.

“I know a girl you should be going with,” she told Joe. “Her locker is right by mine, and she’s very beautiful.” 

Joe called Violet and asked her to the game. She said yes, and the rest is the Lueckes’ long, sweet history.

The couple courted for five years before marrying in February 1942. Most of Joe’s friends had been drafted and married their sweethearts before being deployed to serve in World War II.

“We’re the only two who are left,” Violet said she told Joe one night.

“Well, why don’t we get married?” Joe responded.

Not only were the Lueckes married, they also started working together — Joe as a pattern maker at a foundry and Violet as the business’ bookkeeper. During their lunch hour, the couple would take walks together.

“Everyone would take our picture because we were so pretty,” Joe joked.

“Don’t believe that,” Violet said with a chuckle.

The Lueckes have two sons — one in Downers Grove and one in Australia — two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Through the years, Violet said she and Joe rarely fought and that each supported the other in their hobbies.

“We just got along exceptionally well,” Joe said. “I thank the Lord everything night we still are together.”

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