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Callahans say marriage is about never giving up

GREEN BAY – Married 60 years this September, John and Fay Callahan say the secret to a long and successful marriage is to never give up on each other, much the same way these two super fans have stood by the Green Bay Packers through wins and losses.

“On our second date, John, always the gentleman, asked me to go to a Packers football game in the old stadium,” said Fay.

She never imagined that years later she’d be squeezing through the Lambeau Field stadium turn-style, seven-months pregnant, with her husband John in subzero temperatures at the historic Ice Bowl in 1967.

This is one of several memories these season-ticket holders made during their marriage, tailgating and cheering on the Packers with each other and down the road with their three children.

Looking back, John had always been on the sidelines of Fay’s life.

They grew up blocks from each other on the north side of Green Bay, where John was the paper deliver boy for Fay’s grandmother.

He was also good friends with Fay’s older brother Larry and served as Larry’s confirmation sponsor in the sixth grade.

“It was always just, ‘Oh, hi John,’” said Fay.

But things changed after she asked John to accompany her to her five-year Green Bay East High School class reunion.

“John picked me up in his ‘57 Chevy convertible, white with red interior,” said Fay, adding she was quite impressed.

After cruising through courtship, they got married Sept. 3, 1960.

Fay stayed home to raise the children, while John worked as a liquor salesman and then for the Wisconsin State Lottery.

After retirement, John tended bar until the age of 78 at the Union Hotel, where he dressed in a tuxedo vest with a Green Bay Packers bow tie.

Like any team, married couples have their ups and downs.

“The secret is not to give up,” said Fay. “Marriage is not easy, but you have to work at it and stick with it.”

Sticking with it has been the ticket to a good life for John and Fay.

Along with lifelong friends, they’ve enjoyed travelling, playing cards, golfing and rooting for the Packers, rarely missing a home game and travelling to San Diego to watch the Packers play in Super Bowl XXXII.

“We went to every home football game until we could no longer walk up the steps,” said Fay.

To keep the Callahan clan part of the fandom, John and Fay divided their six season tickets among their three children.

Today their kids and three granddaughters keep the family legacy alive.

Slowing down also meant trading in a two-story house for a private apartment home at Age Well Centre for Life Enrichment.

“It’s the best move we’ve ever made,” said Fay, who said she enjoys the prepared meals, helping hand with cleaning and care and the social opportunities available at the assisted living community.

Older adults and their adult children are invited to experience the benefits of assisted living at Age Well’s Valentine’s Day Party from 2-4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at the senior living community, located at 246 Berger Street, Green Bay.

Guests can enjoy chocolate dipped strawberries and passion punch with live musical entertainment and tours and learn how Age Well’s move-in special makes the move more affordable.

The event is free, but reservations are required. Call 920-264-9339.

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