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As an altar boy, that pretty girl caught his eye, and Lester and Joyce Hines have been married since 1946

As an altar boy, that pretty  girl caught his eye, and  Lester and Joyce Hines have  been married since 1946 As an altar boy, that pretty  girl caught his eye, and  Lester and Joyce Hines have  been married since 1946

Lester and Joyce Hines at Lester’s 88th birthday celebration.

The story of Lester and Joyce Hines is a love story they’ve been writing since 1947.

With Joyce suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and residing in Kinnic Health & Rehab, their 74th anniversary won’t be the same celebration they’d like, but Lester enjoys and looks forward to the hour-and-a-half he gets to spend with her every Friday morning.

“I wish I could see her everyday. It’s hard,” Lester said. “I really miss her.”

Joyce turned 93 on April 28, and Lester is 92, but you’d never know it, especially by the looks of that 10-point buck he shot with crossbow last year.

Lester’s eyes light up when he talks about his family: nine children, 23 grandchildren and 36 greatgrandchildren.

a Each week, he catches Joyce up on family business.

“It’s tough seeing her like this. Seeing that we’re over 90, we figured both of us would never live this long. We’ve had a lot of great er s Joyce and Lester Hines on their wedding day, Aug. 6, 1946.

years,” he said. “I have an appointment every Friday to see her. They bring her out and they have a gazebo, and I can visit with her until she goes to dinner. Her voice is low now when she talks, but she enjoys wanting to know how the kids are doing.”

Aug. 6, 1947 Lester was an altar boy when a pretty girl in the front row caught his eye when he was 16.

“I invited her to go out to a movie. We went to Ellsworth to the theater. It was a Gene Autry one, but I couldn’t remember the name. I was paying attention to a pretty girl,” he said. “Down the line, I married her.”

It was a beautiful day for a wedding at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Elmwood, Lester recalled.

They married and borrowed a car for their honeymoon in Canada and to start a journey of their lifetime together, spanning more than seven decades.

Lester credits their work ethic and tightknit family for the success of their wedding.

Lester had a long career driving truck that started when he was 17 years old. His dad – J.S. Hines – owned a trucking company among many other businesses.

“I only went two years to high school, and I quit and I went driving truck when I was 17,” he said. “I hauled butter out of the Ellsworth Creamery to Chicago for seven years, and I hauled tin back to St. Paul.”

When they married, they bought a farm from his father, and he and Joyce went to work. He also farmed land his father owned on Hwy. 65 on the north side of Ellsworth.

“There were no rocks on that farm. It was so nice to work,” he said. Lester worked a deal with his father for that property, and the family homestead was born.

Lester drove truck, and Joyce and the boys milked the cows and worked the farm. Lester would finish chores at night.

“My wife milked the cows, and when the boys got bigger, they wanted to run the tractors,” he said. “I tanked milk from the Ellsworth Creamery to all the bottlers in the Twin Cities. I’d go to work at 2:30 in the morning. I’m still up at 3 a.m. everyday.”

Joyce kept busy with other things also.

“She loved to have something to do. She started having garage sales. She had garage sales in the spring and the fall. She had them for 35 years. Everyone knows where we live. We’ve lived there for 70 years,” Lester said.

“We worked hard, and they were long days. They’re not eight hour days. We stayed busy. It’s all about keeping busy,” he said.

Lester also was a longtime member of the Ellsworth Fire Department and belonged to the Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club and Ellsworth Snowmobile Club.

He retired – the first time – from driving truck in 1986. He and Joyce were approached by Pierce County, and the two worked for many years as court bailiffs.

“We were there for 27 years. We took care of the Jury. We’d take them into court, take them down for dinner and make sure they didn’t talk to each other,” he said.

Their farm hosted Pierce County Dairy Days twice, and Gov. Tommy Thompson visited.

What’s the secret?

Here’s the advice Lester can give to young couples.

“Don’t expect to work eight hour days,” he said. “And you have to put some of your money in the bank. You can’t leave it all drinking beer.”

There have been parties to celebrate past anniversaries, and the family is hoping to organize some kind of a greeting for Joyce and Lester this year, though a party can’t be held because of COVID-19.

“I’m just glad when I can see her. We’re doing the best we can. I didn’t see her from the 10th day of March until three weeks ago. That’s the longest I’ve been away from her. It’s hard. We’ve had some great memories. We travelled a lot. We’ve got a very good family. I still see at least three or four of them everyday. I think that’s our best achievement. Our kids are all good people. That’s what we’re proud of,” Lester said. “I sure miss her though. She’s a wonderful woman. It’s tough to see what she’s going through.”

Photo by John McLoone.