Thursday, August 09, 2001

After seven decades, they're still together

Couple's 70th anniversary marks years of mutual devotion

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP — When his wife needed nursing-home care, Elmer Barthel insisted on staying by her side.

        “He said he couldn't live without her,” said Faith Ebert, one of the couple's children.

        And by now, two years later, the staff at the Hillandale Health Care nursing home has become accustomed to seeing Elmer and Lydia Barthel sitting together, holding hands.

[photo] Elmer and Lydia Barthel celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Wednesday at Hillandale nursing home.
(Dick Swaim photo)
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        “They have two chairs in their room they push together,” said Susan Hatfield, a social services employee. “When I walk by, I'll often see them holding hands.”

        The Barthels celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Wednesday at the nursing home. About 75 relatives, friends and fellow nursing home residents honored Mr. Barthel, 93, and Mrs. Barthel, 89, at a party.

        Sitting at a table festooned with gold and silver balloons, Mr. Barthel enjoyed a beer, and Mrs. Barthel sipped champagne. They smiled happily as they looked around the room.

        They said their love has thrived for so many years because they have done everything together and worked out any disagreements.

        “We never had an argument,” said Mrs. Barthel, wearing a garland in her hair, similar to the one she wore on her wedding day. “We don't believe in fighting.”

        The Barthels married in Sheboygan, Wis., and moved to Cincinnati. For many years, they operated Barthel Hardware in Hartwell, where they lived. While working together in the store, they raised three children.

        “The devotion they have for each other is amazing,” said their daughter, Mrs. Ebert, who lives in their old house in Hartwell.

        Two of the Barthels' three children are still alive. They have six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


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