How to help celebrate area couple’s 70th anniversary amid COVID-19

Arthur Lochtefeld, 93, and Irene Lochtefeld, 91, of Coldwater are getting ready to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on June 10.
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Arthur Lochtefeld, 93, and Irene Lochtefeld, 91, of Coldwater are getting ready to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on June 10.

Unable to celebrate a milestone people rarely reach in their lifetime due to COVID-19, a family wants the community’s help to pull-off a surprise.

Arthur Lochtefeld, 93, and Irene Lochtefeld, 91, have been together since before college. The couple, originally from Yorkshire, Ohio, and now living in Coldwater, met at a local dance they were both at with different partners.

Everything after that dance is history, as their granddaughter Rachel Lochtefeld put it as the family prepares to celebrate the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary on June 10.

Art and Irene Lochtefeld have been confined to their room at Briarwood Village in Coldwater since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. So the family hopes to surprise them with a shower of cards from family, friends and the tight-knit community their marriage grew up in.

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Rachel Lochtefeld said the family is coordinating with Briarwood to be ready for a flood of cards. Anyone who wants to be a part of the shower celebration should send a card to the assisted living community at 100 Don Desch Drive, Coldwater, OH 45828, and they should send a card as soon as possible so they can arrive in time.

Rachel Lochtefeld’s father also plans to bring more than 120 cupcakes to the residents of the assisted living facility. There are also plans in the works for a special dinner.

“They’ve just always been such a pair,” Rachel Lochtefeld said. “The times they grew up in are a little different than they are now, but they feel like a modern couple. They’ve always split the work and all their duties, responsibilities. … They’re very strong, they’re just very sweet.”

At Art Lochtefeld’s 90th birthday party, Rachel Lochtefeld recalled guests sharing stories and anecdotes of her grandfather and at every chance, he would try to turn the attention back on his wife and share stories about her instead.

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“My grandfather still dotes on her,” Rachel Lochtefeld said. “He wanted to say how much he loved spending his whole entire life with the best partner possible. He still got teary eyed with it and they are very much still in love.”

Before COVID-19, Briarwood residents gather daily to play games, share meals and celebrate milestones.

“They’ve just been eager to talk to everyone and stay connected as much as they can,” Rachel Lochtefeld said. “It’s just been kind of strange and isolating for them.”

Earlier in their marriage, Art and Irene Lochtefeld owned and operated the now closed Yorkshire Supermarket, which brought the already social couple even closer to their community.

“Words of encouragement would be great (to include in the card),” Rachel Lochtefeld said. “Sort of knowing that there’s a couple out there that can last this long and be this happy still. It’s very inspiring.”

Rachel Lochtefeld, who just recently got married, said her grandparent’s marriage is something she hopes for her own.

“It’s a great story anyway, no matter what’s going on,” Rachel Lochtefeld said. “But it feels just especially needed during these weird times we’re going through right now. A little bit of love and warmth is something everybody needs right now.”