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Now in their 90s, Wisteds celebrate their birthdays and 70th wedding anniversary

Lois and Arland Wisted turned 95 and 94, respectively, in December and celebrated 70 years of marriage in March. An open house to honor them will be Saturday. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Seventy-plus years ago, two young Minnesota adults were living near Washington, D.C. He was in the Army; she was working at the Pentagon.

They were introduced through mutual friends. They got married March 25, 1944, during cherry blossom season. They eventually moved back to Minnesota, settling in his hometown of Detroit Lakes.

They had three children, which turned into grandchildren and great grandchildren. They owned a successful business and moved into retirement living several years ago.

And, as they say, the rest is history.

Arland and Lois Wisted are having quite a notable celebration July 26 to recognize 70 years of marriage and their birthdays. Lois turned 95 on Dec. 21, and Arland turned 94 on Dec. 14.

“I didn’t know there was a place called Detroit Lakes until I met him,” Lois said.

She’d soon learn otherwise.

Arland grew up on a farm about half a mile west of Maple Hills Golf Course and lived in the Detroit Lakes area all of his life except while serving in the Army. Lois grew up in East Bethel, near the Twin Cities.

They would both soon end up on the East Coast though.

Arland decided to enlist in the Army because it was a “one year stint at that time. Then the war broke out and you’re in for good.”

During World War II, he was stationed at Aberdeen, Md., and while there, a friend of his was also living in the D.C. area. The friend had met and married a girl from Perham, and she worked with Lois at the Pentagon.

The couple introduced their friends, Lois and Arland.

After the Wisteds got married, Lois moved back to Minnesota and waited for her new husband to finish his time in the Army.

“He went around the world in the Army, and I came home and stayed with my parents and had a baby daughter in the meantime,” she said.

Arland returned to Minnesota in January of 1946, and went back to work at the Coast to Coast store in Detroit Lakes where he had worked before he was drafted.

“I thought I should learn a trade,” he said, so he went into construction with his father and brother, working for TA Wisted and Sons Construction for 20 years.

One day he was at the Western Auto Parts Store doing some shopping and the owner asked him if he was interested in buying the business. Arland said he’d let him know the next day.

He went home and talked to his brother, Morell, and “the next morning, we went and bought it.”

They took ownership Jan. 1, 1969, and switched to the Hardware Hank franchise name.

Arland worked at the store for 15 years before retiring and selling his shares of the business to his nephews, Bruce and Ron Wisted. The north Washington Avenue business closed in 2008.

Lois spent her days working at the high school and First Lutheran Church doing secretarial work.

She said that Arland was an avid trapshooter in the earlier years, spending time at the sportsman’s club a couple nights a week.

“Maybe that was his escape from me,” Lois said with a laugh.

His escape plan didn’t work though. He taught her to shoot, and she joined him at trapshooting in the early 1970s for the next 20 years.

“We lived pretty independently,” she said, adding that they had their own interests and hobbies. “Maybe that’s why we got along so well.”

The Wisteds have three children — Mary Wallen, Detroit Lakes, David, St. Cloud, and Carolyn Osborne, Moorhead — five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Since their children have all stayed close to home, “we know all our grandchildren,” Lois said.

Not only are the Wisteds looking forward to seeing family at their open house next weekend, they will also get to see their foreign exchange students they hosted in 1969.

In 1982, Lois and Arland traveled to Switzerland to visit Rose Marie and haven’t seen her since, though they still keep in contact.

Another special friend that will be at the party is Charlotte Hoeglund. A friend since she and Arland were children, she has been at the Wisteds’ wedding, their 50th wedding anniversary party and will be at their 70th celebration as well.

Arland said that he told the pastor at their wedding that he and his bride were “so young when we got married we needed a chaperone,” he said with a laugh, a nod to Hoeglund.

When asked the secret of sustaining a 70-year marriage, Arland said, “Wouldn’t want to break another one in. Isn’t that what they say?”

“Never go to bed mad,” Lois said is another saying that’s held true for them. “We’ve had a pretty docile marriage, not much sadness. We’ve been very, very fortunate.”

In 2007, the couple moved into the Lincoln Park apartment building at Essentia Health St. Mary’s and enjoy their time around Detroit Lakes, not traveling much anymore.

“This is a wonderful place, and the nicest people,” Lois said of their apartment building.

She said she’s excited for their upcoming party to see family and friends. Arland’s family doesn’t get together as often as hers, so it should be a big celebration. The public is welcome.

“A Date to Remember” open house in honor of Lois and Arland’s birthdays and anniversary is July 26 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes.

No cards or gifts; just come and celebration with the Wisteds.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.