Hastings couple set to mark their 70th wedding anniversary
by Chad Richardson • Editor
At first, Vicky Grundman’s mother wasn’t real impressed with her new boyfriend.
And you can’t blame her.
Roger Grundman showed up at her doorstep at about 5 a.m. one morning to tell Vicky’s family that she had been in auto accident in Minneapolis. She was in the hospital. Worst of all for Vicky’s mother, it wasn’t even a Catholic hospital.
From that rocky start though, Roger Grundman proved himself to be a pretty good catch for Vicky. Even her mother came around and, next week, the Hastings couple will celebrate 70 years of marriage.
It was certainly a relationship that had its foundation laid with humility.
Roger had a 1932 Nash automobile that he and his friends would take to roller rinks in the area. He grew up in Faribault, and the group of pals would travel quite a distance to get to rinks. One night, they found themselves in Farmington and it didn’t take long for Roger’s eyes to lock on to a woman there.
“There was a girl going around a corner with a red skirt on,” he said. “I said to my friend, ‘Who is that?’ We got into an accident that night, and we’ve been together ever since. I’ve never looked at another girl in my life.”
Later that night, the couple piled into a car and drove to Minneapolis to drop a babysitter off at her job. They hit another vehicle, though, leaving a few people in the party to seek medical care. They were taken to Eitel Hospital.
Eventually, Roger was able to get away from the hospital and drove down to tell Vicky’s family. They were wide awake, wondering where their daughter was. At about 5 a.m., Roger pulled up. He broke the news to her family, and told them that Vicky was at Eitel.
“I’ve never heard of that,” Vicky’s mother Sarah said. She then asked why her daughter wasn’t taken to one of the Catholic hospitals in the Twin Cities.
“I had a heck of a time getting acquainted with her mother,” Roger said.
Over the years, though, that all changed.
“He turned out to be a favorite,” Vicky said.
By Jan. 27, 1944, the two were married. They lived in Farmington and then moved to Hastings in 1967.
Roger is now 92 and Vicky is 90. The two are left wondering how in the world 70 years has gone by since they’ve been married, and they said they both feel thankful and blessed that they’ve been able to remain happily married for so long.
“We’re lucky,” Vicky said. “We’re lucky that we’re here. I’ve always said we had a better-than-average life.”
“I gotta say that they were great (years),” Roger said. “We had our little ups and downs, but no big upsets.”
“He’s a good man,” Vicky said, reaching across the table and touching Roger on the arm. “He’s always been a good father. That’s so important.”
Among their secrets? Giving each other space when needed. If they got into an argument, they’d get out of each other’s way for a while.
“He would not say anything,” Vicky said. “He would just walk away. He’d go to the garage.”
Roger and Vicky went to the movies one December Sunday in 1941. When they came out, they couldn’t believe what they heard.
A man selling popcorn at the theater had a radio on and the man on the radio was describing an attack at Pearl Harbor.
Just five months later, Roger had enlisted. He served with the 8th Armored Division of the United States Army. During a furlough, he and Vicky were married at St. Michael’s in Farmington.
They lived at Camp Polk in DeRidder, La., before she moved back to Farmington and he was sent overseas.
By the time he got back home, the couple’s first son was 6 months old. They eventually had a total of five children. They now have seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Roger worked at the locker plant in Farmington, then at what was then known as the Pine Bend Refinery (it is now known as Flint Hills Resources). Facing a year-long strike, his pal Ed Riveness got him a job at the Cenex here, and he stayed there until he retired in the mid-1980s.
Vicky worked as a bookkeeper at Perkins for 13 years after her children were all in school.
Vicky grew up in Willmar and Farmington. She graduated from Farmington High School in 1941.
Roger, meanwhile, grew up in Faribault. He graduated in 1939. He was on the football team playing right guard when Bruce Smith was there. Smith went on to star at the University of Minnesota, winning a Heisman trophy in 1941.
Roger said he was especially proud that his father served in World War I and he and his brothers all served, too.
Between the four of them, they had 71 years of service to their country.
For the most part, both Roger and Vicky have remained healthy throughout their lives. About a year ago, Roger had some significant heart trouble, though, and he was sent home to pass away. He came around, though, in large part to the care that his family members gave him, he said. The couple’s daughters worked around the clock to help out, they said.
“We’re just blessed,” Vicky said. “Just blessed.”