This year, we decided to start a new Big-O tradition that allows the spouses of previous Big-O couples to celebrate their anniversary with us even if they have lost their spouse. Going forward, we will honor them as Big-O Alumni.
Our Big-O Alumni contributed to our event this year in several ways. Bob Murphy, who is 97 years old, read the names of all 21 couples that have been married for more than 50 years. Hilde Champion worked on the floor with the Big-O couples when they needed a microphone. Carol Pringle, our third Big-O Alumni, greeted everyone at the door, made sure they had a program, and directed the “Over-50” couples to their reserved seating.
Our winners for longest marriage went to Shirly and Marv Bohnen for celebrating 64 years of marriage. In addition to special seating, and one of our exclusive buttons, of course. As a special honor, the couple that had been married the longest – Shirley & Marvin Bohnen – received free drinks, all night long.
Judy Reibline played her usual role as our professional Master of Ceremony. During the event, our six 2019 Big-O couples shared a real-life first experience of their choice and to share their first night at the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge.
Bonnie and her choir of couples that had been married over 50 years gave each couple a round of vocal applause by singing a few bars of “Fools Rush In”… but I’m still in love with you!
Our six Big-O couples of 2019 include:
Derri & Barry Cash – 30
Terri & Homer Clauss – 40
Linda & Kendall Hastings – 40
Nancy & Jim Menningen – 40
Carole & John Murray – 40
Judy & Vaughn Knowles – 50
The highlight of the evening (and Joan’s favorite part of the celebration) is the giving of the gold gate key to the new Over-50 couples. This year, that honor went to Judy and Vaughn Knowles. This special couple has set a record for the most years visiting the BPKFL as a couple – – with 27 of their 50 years spent vacationing with us! If you see them around camp, be sure to give them your congratulations. You will know them because their license plate says “BPKFL.”
From there, our Big-O couples received their special anniversary cards, handmade by our own Vicki Gladwell, and we opened up the dance floor for music and dancing. The Bait Shop Bar was open and serving up Joan’s signature, complimentary Sunset Rum drink. As usual, a great time was had by all, and we are already looking forward to next year’s Big-O celebration!
Guests celebrating 50+ years of marriage in 2019:
Ruth & Jim Alexander – Carlton, Ont
Kay & Rick Annunziato – Rockwood, ME
Debbie & Howard Belknap – Grayling, MI
Diana & Gary Betzold – Sterling Heights, MI
Shirley & Marvin Bohnen – Stillwater, MN – married 64 years!
Sandy and Cookie Burbine -South Royalton, VT
Pat & Rusty Clauss – Hale, MI
Shirley & George Clauss – Hale, MI
Kathy & Mike Conley – Hamburg, PA
Sandy & Eugene Doyon – Hopkinsville, KY
Cathy & Bob Kosak – Terryville, CT
Carole & Ron Krecioch – Gladwin, MI
Sarah & Rudy Kronbichler – Nanuet, NY
Shirley & George Leppa – Big Lake, MN
Jean & Ragnar Midtskogen – Fishkill, NY
Joan & Jim Platt – Franfort, IN
Char & Dave Sawyer – Olcott, NY
Bonnie & Ron Searles – Brownfield, ME
Joyce & Ron Stocking – Oregan, IL
Judy & Tom Stykemain – Defiance, OH
Lois & Tom Woolsey – Fort Meyers, FL