Ira and Grace Foust have lived a happy and fulfilling life together.
Married on June 14, 1946, the Chambersburg couple will be celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary this year.
“We had a wonderful married life,” Ira said. “We really did.”
The two lovebirds met through a family connection when they were 14. Ira was drafted into the Navy at 18 during WWII and was stationed in Australia where he worked in a supply warehouse.
When he came home in January of 1946, the couple married shortly after in an intimate ceremony in Grace’s sister’s living room.
Ira, 95, and Grace, 94, moved into their Shippensburg home in 1950, eager to fill it with a lifetime of memories.
“My uncle and I built that house,” Ira said.
The Foust’s welcomed two sons into the family over the years.
“The only thing I can say is that we lived a home life,” he said. “This wild life that people are living today, we didn’t have any of that. We’re churchgoers. Neither of us ever drank or smoked.”
“We went to Sunday school every Sunday,” Grace said. “We enjoyed that.”
Ira worked at Letterkenny Army Depot for 37 years while Grace stayed home with the boys, often babysitting the neighborhood children whose mothers had to work.
When Ira retired at 55, he wasn’t quite ready to give up work just yet, so he took a job driving a school bus for the next decade.
“Boy, I liked it, I’ll tell ya,” he said.
One thing the Foust family loved to do was travel. Road trips to the beach, California, Florida and plenty of stops in between are some of their favorite moments to reflect on.
Grace remembers that Ira always loved to stop a lot along the way.
“And he always wanted to stay at a place with a swimming pool,” she laughed.
But despite the allure of the open road, the couple always loved coming back home.
“I was born and raised here in Letterkenny,” Ira said. “When you travel around, home is still the best.”
“There’s no place like home,” Grace said.
Over the years, the two honed some unique hobbies.
Ira would rebuild old bicycles in his free time, 1,486 of them, to be exact.
When Ira was toiling away on wheels, Grace was crocheting blankets and doilies. Everyone in the family has one, a cherished keepsake they’ll always be able to remember her by.
“It’s safe to say she’s done anywhere between 500 and 1,000 of them,” Ira said. “That’s just a wild guess.”
After Ira fell and broke his hip and Grace broke her pelvis a few years ago, the family made the tough decision to move them into a joint room in Mennohaven.
These days, the Fousts are able to relax by enjoying the simple things, like watching movies together or playing a round of bingo with their neighbors.
African violets dot the windowsill in their shared room, a bright reminder of their home before and the tender care the two put into it.
“We had a happy marriage,” Ira said. “Now I’m not saying we didn’t have bumps along the road, because we did have them, but they smoothed out okay. You’ve got to love each other and pay attention to them when they talk.”
“Respect each other,” Grace said.
Their son, Dick Foust, finds his parents’ enduring love to be a rarity.
“It’s quite amazing really,” Dick said. “It’s hard. Once you get older, you can hardly comprehend sometimes your own age, much less that your parents can still be active after 75 years of marriage. You just don’t run into that. I contribute that to how they lived their lives. They always had a 9:00 bedtime their entire life. They were up at daybreak.”
“We have funny ways, but we made it this far,” Ira said.
“He’s very good to me,” Grace said. “He would do anything that I needed.”
Carley Bonk is a Watchdog Reporter for the USA Today Network – Pennsylvania. Her coverage spans across the southcentral region of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @carls_marie.