COOLVILLE - Like the layers of the cakes they made together, 50 years of marriage for Rosa Lee and Carl Klingenberg have been deliciously sweet.
The Coolville couple are The Parkersburg News and Sentinel's Golden Anniversary Couple for February. They were married Feb. 23, 1963, at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Athens. The couple points out that day still holds the record for the coldest Feb. 23 at -1.
The couple met when they both worked at Spot Pizza in Athens where he was a delivery boy and she was a waitress. She was 16 and he was 19.
Rosa Lee and Carl Klingenberg of Coolville, Ohio, are The Parkersburg News and Sentinel’s Golden Anniversary Couple for the month of February. The couple were married Feb. 23, 1963 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Athens, Ohio. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)
They started dating shortly thereafter.
"We lived about a mile apart but we went to different schools," Rosa Lee said.
They dated for a year and four months before deciding to get married.
However, they had an obstacle to overcome.
"We would have gotten married sooner, but the first time he asked my mother for permission, she said 'no,"' Rosa Lee said. "She wanted us to wait so we had to wait a little while.
"She never really gave us the OK."
The couple were in town one day, went to the jewelry store and picked out an engagement ring.
"I went home wearing my ring and that was it," Rosa Lee said.
"Everything developed from that," Carl added. They were married when she was 18 and he was 21.
The couple worked at Ohio University for a while. They came to Belpre, Ohio when Carl was hired at DuPont in March 1965 where he did maintainence work for 36 years before retiring in 2001. He was drafted into the military in the late-1960s and the couple spent two years in Germany, but they came back and Carl was able to resume his work at DuPont.
Rosa Lee ended up working a number of years for the Federal Hocking School District before retiring in 2003.
The Klingenbergs raised two daughters, Lisa and Terry, as well as hosted six foreign exchange students from the countries of Spain, Argentina and Mexico. They also have one granddaughter.
The couple says they have been able to stay together for so long because they have gotten along so well.
"It hasn't been hard," Rosa Lee said. "We haven't had any serious arguments.
"We just like to be together. We like to do everything together. Usually, you don't see one of us without the other."
The couple likes to go to Amish Country regularly and have traveled internationally, having been to Spain six times as well as elsewhere.
"We have gone and visited all of our exchange students and their families," Rosa Lee said.
Carl said they even got to attend the wedding of one of them.
They belong to St. Ambrose Catholic Church and they both volunteer there regularly.
The couple plans to go out for dinner on their anniversary as well as attend Mass where they are going to renew their vows. The special gathering of family and friends won't occur until April.
"For our 40th anniversary, our daughters planned a big surprise party for us," Rosa Lee said. "That morning it snowed and snowed and snowed.
"Everything had to be cancelled. We said this year we won't have it in February, we will have it when it when the weather would be better."
They have already received word that one of the exchange students will be making the trip to be here for the couple's anniversary celebration.
Most of the students have been back to visit them, Carl said.
The couple said they always share in whatever needs to be done.
"If the yard needs mowed, she helps me," Carl said. "If the house needs cleaned, I will help her. We both like to cook."
One hobby the couple shares together is they have been making cakes together for more than 30 years. They have made birthday cakes, wedding cakes and cakes for special occasions. They have given some away and word-of-mouth has led them to be hired from time to time to make a cake.
Carl usually does the baking and Rosa Lee puts it together and decorates it.
The largest cake they baked served 250 people.
"I did our 25th anniversary," Rosa Lee said. "I am planning to do our own cake for our 50th."
The couple has continually faced each challenge in their lives together.
"He has been a great husband," Rosa Lee said. "He has always been there for me.
He is a great father and great grandfather. I don't know what I would do without him."
"The same goes for me," Carl said.