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How it all started

Bud and Jo Ann Vogel, residents at The Terraces in Bonita Springs, shared their love story this month in honor of Valentine’s Day. Growing up in Grafton, West Virginia, a small town where everyone knew everyone, Bud was dating Jo Ann’s friend, classmate, and bandmate when the two first met. Bud had just come home from the Korean War and went to pick up his girlfriend at the restaurant where she and Jo Ann both had an after school job. Bud offered them both a ride home, and soon after, he ran into Jo Ann again at the local movie theater where she was out with her girlfriends, and he out with his guy friends.

It wasn’t long after that that he called her and their first date was on July 24, 1954 – they went to the movies and out to Dairy Queen for ice cream cones. They dated for about a year, loved going out with friends to play the jukebox and dance, and ultimately got married on July 22, 1955. Jo Ann, who had graduated high school that year, was 16 years old. She says now that she was so fortunate to have met “the man of my life.” (By the way, she remained friends with the original girlfriend.)

After they were married, they stayed in Grafton for a time where Bud worked for the railroad. They had a son one year after they were married – Bud dropped Jo Ann off at the hospital on the way to his first day of work.

A couple of years later, when the railroad management changed and Bud was furloughed, the couple moved to Alexandria, VA where they both worked for the Pentagon. In 1994, they moved to Bonita Springs.

Life in Bonita Springs

Bud and Jo Ann stayed very active after they moved to Bonita, swimming on the local Master’s team on East Terry Street. At age 65, Bud became a runner, and Jo Ann attended every race whether it was a 5K, 10K or half marathon. Even now at age 87, Bud walks four to five miles a day – a distance he measures on his FitBit.

In October 2013, the couple moved to The Terraces at Bonita Springs – “the best decision we ever made,” says Jo Ann. They have lots of friends and participate in bocce, Bingo, work out in the fitness center, and attend various lectures and entertainment. Jo Ann says they forget they are retired because they are so busy and feel so young.

What’s their secret?

Married for 62 and a half years, Jo Ann shares that they have always had a lot in common and love to be together. Most important, they have a lifelong trust in one another and have always been very caring and loving to each other. She says it’s a matter of “give and take,” and the ability to talk to one another to “work things out.” To this day, he playfully teases her, which makes her happy. She says, “He is a great man.”

Their advice to young couples? “You need to know that this is the one who is your soul mate,” Bud and Jo Ann agree. “This is the person to whom you have made a lifelong commitment. Work together and trust each other.”

Without being asked, both Bud and Jo Ann stated that they would “do it all over again.”

Along with several other couples, Bud and Jo Ann were recognized at The Terraces at Bonita Springs’ Valentine’s Day party on Feb. 14. They celebrated with a sumptuous dinner, strolling violinist, roses, and customized goodies recognizing the couples’ anniversary dates.