JEFFERSONVILLE — Over the decades, Jeffersonville couple Jack and Marcia Hutslar have cared for each other, raised a family and spent their lives side-by-side.
And 65 years after they were married, their love for each other remains unwavering.
“I just think that we are very, very fortunate,” Marcia said. “We love each other and have kept our love alive.”
Jack, 85, and Marcia, 86, are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary today, one day before Valentine’s Day. Both are retired teachers who worked in Greater Clark County Schools, and they have lived in Jeffersonville for more than 50 years.
The couple has five children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They are celebrating their anniversary today with about 20 of their family members, and they plan to continue the party into Valentine’s Day on Friday.
A LOVE STORY
They first met in February 1954 while attending Indiana University in Bloomington. Marcia had mistaken Jack for someone else as she greeted him in their sociology class.
“I said ‘hi,’ and I realized, he wasn’t who I thought he was,” she said.
“I thought, she’s pretty cute, so I waited and spoke to her on the way out,” Jack said.
They started dating just a few weeks later when Jack asked Marcia out for coffee and drove her home. There was “just something about him,” she said, and she thought he looked like the actor Gordon MacRae.
“My parents lived in Chicago, and I went home for spring vacation,” Marcia said. “I said, I met the man I’m going to marry. So I knew right away. I don’t know whether he did. I did. I don’t think he knew.”
“I didn’t know,” Jack said. “She helped me make up my mind.”
On Feb. 13, 1955, they were married just a year after meeting, and they graduated together in 1956. Their first child was born in 1956.
“I was very insecure when I got married,” Marcia said. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself, and he’s always built me up and made me feel that I could do anything. And consequently, I think I can do about anything.”
In the early years of their marriage, money was tight, but “it was worth every bit of it” as they struggled, because it made them closer, Marcia said. The couple moved to Jeffersonville in 1968, and they bought a house where they continue to live in more than 50 years later.
Jack taught for 40 years, including 28 years teaching government and economics at Jeffersonville High School, and Marcia taught 20 years, including 15 years teaching various grades at Parkview Middle School. Marcia has been retired for 25 years, and Jack has been retired for 23 years. As fellow teachers, they understood when the other was facing challenges, and they enjoyed sharing their summers, which often included camping, hiking and gardening.
The couple has many shared interests, and they have always enjoyed each other’s company throughout the years. They have both been actively involved in the community through various volunteer efforts.
“Whatever I was doing he was doing, and whatever I was doing, he was doing,” Marcia said.
Since 1971, one of their shared interests has included square dancing, and they even started the Double H Square Dance Club in Jeffersonville. They also love to travel, and following Jack’s retirement, they went on frequent trips both nationally and internationally. They have visited a total of 35 countries, mostly in Europe and South America.
Jack said some of the secrets to their long, happy marriage include “luck and being willing to compromise.”
“I think that’s the problem with a lot of marriages today — they don’t compromise,” Jack said. “They’ve got to have their way or the highway. Sometimes I compromise, sometimes she does.”
“You can’t let your pride get in the way,” Marcia added. “My sister and brother just always talk about the fact that we could get mad at each other one minute and be making up and happy the next. We never tried to argue in front of our kids. Our son said we make it look too easy.”
”TWO SIDES OF A COIN”
Jennifer Coward, their youngest daughter, said her parents have always been expressive of the love they have for each other.
“They’ve never been stingy with that, which I think is such a good example for us as kids in our own relationships,” she said. “As long as I’ve known them, they would take walks and hold hands as they’d walk through the neighborhood — and they still do that. They go into church and they’re holding hands, and my mom’s got her hand on his knee.”
Coward said her parents’ loving attitudes toward each other “spills into” their family and the community.
“It’s just kind of become the cornerstone of who’ve we all become, I think — the strength of their relationship,” she said. “They are just like two sides of a coin. What one can’t do, the other one can, and it’s like they don’t exist without each other. They’re just the best. I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up with any other parents.”
Julie Hutslar, their oldest daughter, said her father taught her to stand up for herself and believe in herself, and her mother empowered her daughters “to do or be anything” they wanted. She has also been inspired to see the strength of their marriage.
“They set a very good example, and I don’t ever remember them arguing in my whole life,” she said. “[I’ve] been married almost 40 years, so they must have set a good example.”
Marcia said Jack is the light of her life.
“I don’t know what I’d do without him,” Marcia said. “I try to take good care of him so I don’t have to do without him…We take care of each other.”
Jack said 65 years of marriage has gone by quickly, and he’s had a great time over his decades with Marcia.
“I’m sure we’ve had some rough spots, but you don’t remember those,” he said. “I feel like it’s been a pretty enjoyable life — we’ve been able to travel and see a lot of things we’ve wanted to see. We’ve both enjoyed our jobs and had a great family that’s all strong, smart and good-looking.”