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Former Hastings couple celebrates 70 years of marriage

John and Dorothy Kusske, who spent 25 years in Hastings before they retired, are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. (Submitted photo)

John and Dorothy Kusske married young. They were just 16 and 17 when they got married, and there were plenty of people around them who had their doubts about the union.

“A lot of people said it wouldn’t last,” John Kusske said.

A lot of people were wrong. On July 23, they’ll be celebrating 70 years of marriage.

Kusske said he didn’t quite know what it was that brought he and his wife together to begin with. They met at a roller skating rink in Fish Lake, south of Mora.

“We were awfully young,” he recalled.

When they met, he was 15 years old and she was 16. Circumstances over the next year led them to get married.

It’s been a pretty good 70 years.

“We’ve had some ups and downs but nothing serious,” Kusske said.

After they married in 1946, they lived in Mora and Alexandria before moving to Hastings, where they lived for 25 years.

Kusske said he had worked for Land O’Lakes creameries; a friend at the same job quit and took a job at 3M Chemolite and moved to Hastings.

“Wages were higher, so I decided that’s what I should do,” Kusske said. “We’d heard that Hastings was a nice town.”

He worked at 3M as a pipefitter and welder, but six months after he started, the workers went on strike. When that happened, he went to the union hall and they put him to work on permit, eventually taking him into the union about a year later.

One of those contract jobs led him to open his own business. One particular boss stood out.

“I thought, if he could make money, I certainly could,” he said.

So he launched Kusske Mechanical in Hastings, which he ran for 11 years. When he retired, he sold the business to his daughter and son-in-law, Donna and Roger Thorkelson. They sold the business five years ago, but still live in Hastings, Kusske said.

Dorothy worked at Meyers in Hastings for a short time.

John and Dorothy had five children; two sons and three daughters.

In 1985, the couple bought a cabin in Cumberland, Wisconsin. John retired in 1992 and the couple moved to the lake. They have lived there ever since, except for winters, which they spend in Texas.

The family is planning an anniversary party for the Kusskes at their home on July 23.

“We’ve had a good life and we’re both reasonably healthy,” John said. “I would hope that we get to celebrate our 75th, the Lord willing.”