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Published: Tuesday, 2/10/2009

Maumee duo among 31 to be honored at ceremony

Charmaine and Jim McClellan have been married for 58 years. They will be one of several area couples honored at the Joined Hearts in Giving celebration. Charmaine and Jim McClellan have been married for 58 years. They will be one of several area couples honored at the Joined Hearts in Giving celebration.

The secret to a long marriage is simple: enduring love.

Charmaine McClellan, who has been married to Jim McClellan for 58 years, said there's not much more to it than that.

"The most obvious is love," she said. "And respect. You have to respect your mate."

Another tip from the couple: Pay attention to the little things. Their meals at home always include a candle and a glass of wine.

The McClellans, of Maumee, are one of 31 couples to be recognized Friday during the tenth annual Joined Hearts in Giving celebration in Columbus with Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland.

The couples being honored have been married at least 40 years and actively participate and volunteer in their communities.

Mrs. McClellan, 80, and Mr. McClellan, 81, met on a blind date in 1948 when they went sledding in a park. They hit it off and were married two years later in the York, Pa., area where they are from.

The couple have lived in Maumee for 47 years since Mr. McClellan took a job in the engineering department of WTOL-TV. After rearing their four children, Mrs. McClellan was a surgical nurse at what was then the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, now the University of Toledo medical center.

Since their retirement they have spent more time giving back to the community, such as serving lunch everyday at the Maumee Senior Center.

They also have served as foster parents to young infants through Lutheran Social Services and worked with Habitat for Humanity. Mrs. McClellan volunteered as a library assistant with Maumee City Schools and Mr. McClellan is the handyman at the senior center.

Sande Klepzig, outreach coordinator for the senior center, nominated the couple for being faithful volunteers who help in any way they can.

"You can count on them to be here every day," she said. "They're great."

Roger and Ruth Ann Stout, of Fremont, are high school sweethearts who have been married 56 years. They, too, are a Joined Hearts in Giving couple.

They are active in the Hayes United Methodist Church, doing "a little bit of everything" and also volunteer at the soup kitchen at Grace Lutheran Church, Mrs. Stout said.

And they were involved in Boy Scouts before their two sons could even join, with Mr. Stout serving as a troop leader and Mrs. Stout a den mother.

Mr. and Mrs. Stout, now 78 and 76 respectively, met in school when she was 13 and he was 15, Mrs. Stout said. A friend of hers said Roger Stout wanted to know who she was and she said, well who is Roger Stout?

Then she passed him in the hall, thought he was cute, and said hi.

"That's all it took," she laughed. He gave her a diamond at graduation and they married two years later.

"Make sure you love them and you think of the other one more than yourself," Mrs. Stout said of a happy union. "Marriage is a 50-50 thing, but sometimes you give 95 percent and get 5 percent and other times it's the reverse."

Other area couples recognized through Joined Hearts in Giving include:

•Richard and Millie Bishop, of Findlay, who have been married 64 years and volunteer with the Hancock Christian Clearing House, a nonprofit organization of 44 churches that helps families with financial problems. They also have been active in the area mobile meals program for 35 years.

•Richard and Dorothy Puffenberger, of Tiffin, have been married 60 years and are active with St. Francis Home helping in the gift shop and assisting residents with activities.

•Cletus and Alice Vetter, of Hicksville, have been married 62 years and are active with St. Michael's Catholic Church. They've worked with a Fort Wayne, Ind., soup kitchen and have been host parents to exchange students and foster parents.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:


or 419-724-6134.

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