Residents Shirley and Stefan Vogel — typically seen holding hands, her head resting lovingly on his chest — could easily be mistaken for newlyweds.
But in fact, the Vogels will celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary in August. Asked for the secret to their enduring, fairytale-like relationship, Stefan is quick to reply.
“We’re both religious – not insanely so – but we do share our strong faith,” Stefan said.
They also share a love of family and a delightful sense of humor, apparent as they playfully tease each other.
When not holding Shirley’s hand, Stefan is likely operating their GrandPad, a tablet computer that enables them to make phone calls, e-mail friends, do live video chats with family, share photos and surf the Web.
And on Sundays they “participate” in their church’s service, televised live on the GrandPad.
Among the couple’s most memorable experiences was a Danube River cruise that docked in Vienna, where they visited the church where Stefan’s parents were wed in 1930.
They were led to the church’s inner sanctum, where centuries-old documents were archived, including a very special certificate from 1930.
“To be standing in the very room where my parents were wed, and then see their original marriage license — it was a very emotional time for me,” Stefan said.
The Vogels also have a shared passion for music and enjoyed singing in their church choir. Shirley is quite comfortable at the keyboard of our baby grand piano, and enjoys listening to country western music.
Stefan, a retired school principal, was an accomplished classical guitarist until his hands became arthritic. But he still manages to play the piano, and recently entertained fellow residents with a spirited rendition of “Red Wing.”