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An older gentleman with nice blue eyes was walking around a coffee shop with holding a small bag. He made his rounds, placing a chocolate Hershey Kiss on each table.

"Here, today is my wedding anniversary," he explained to patrons.

The man, Navy veteran Chuck Franzke, and his wife, Beverly, a retired Waukesha teacher, were celebrating 72 years of wedded bliss. They have been together 78 years.

Just a small town girl

Beverly has ties to East Troy and Mukwonago. Her grandmother Belle Sawyer was a well-known artist. Sawyer has an exhibit at the Mukwonago Red Brick Museum.

The couple met at East Troy High School after Chuck's family moved from West Allis.

"At first I was afraid, we were country people and they came from the big city," she said.

Beverly was friends with Chuck's sister and Chuck was dating a friend of Beverly. His girlfriend ended up with a case of the measles and he needed a date.

The couple's first date was going to a movie in Mukwonago and then stopping for a burger and a milkshake.

"I don't remember the movie, but I remember me and his sister were wearing new white snow boots," Beverly said.

Chuck gazes at his wife, whom he calls "Betsy," from across the room. After the first date, he knew he wanted to marry her.

"She was nice, cute and had great legs," Chuck said.

The couple dated while Chuck was serving as a Navy pilot during World War II. There was no "down on bended knee" proposal. As the Navy vet explained, they always discussed getting hitched eventually.

While Chuck was away, Beverly went to college to become a teacher. They stayed in touch by writing letters.

"We promised to stay true to each other, I knew I would never find a girl nicer than Beverly," Chuck said.

'I'll be loving you always'

Beverly had just started teaching at Blair School in Waukesha when Chuck announced he would be on leave from the U.S.Navy Air Corps. He asked her to marry him while he was home.

Chuck thought he might have to go back overseas so the wedding had to happen quickly.

"It was a whirlwind wedding," she said.

Beverly felt scared to ask the principal for time off to get married since she was at Blair for only two weeks. The principal told her to go and get married.

"I made it up to him since I taught there for over eight years," she said.

The couple married at the Congregational Church in East Troy on Feb. 3, 1945. Beverly laughed and said it was as the 12 o'clock whistle was blowing.

They held a small luncheon reception afterward but it was almost overshadowed by a scandal. Beverly said her married cousin ran away with another man on the day of the wedding.

"That's what everyone was talking about, we had to remind people it was our wedding day," she laughed.

Their wedding song is "Always" by Irving Berlin. One of Beverly's girlfriend sung it that day.

Chuck and Beverly have a son and a daughter, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Always by his side

Chuck explains love gets people to the altar but trust and respect are what keeps a couple together.

"We are best friends, we do very little separately," Chuck said.

The couple volunteers for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, which provides all-expense-paid trips to Washington D.C. for veterans to see the war memorials and other sites.

Chuck went on his honor flight in 2010. He points to the coffee table which had a very thick book on it, full of honor flight pictures and stories.

"I'm going to show you a picture of the most handsome man you have ever seen," he said with a sly smile.

He opens the book and shows a picture of him waving after an honor flight, and, of course, Beverly is off to the side.

At first, people weren't clapping loudly, he recalled, so Chuck started dancing and encouraging people to clap harder.

"He danced right by me," Beverly said.

The aspiring Fred Astaire was interviewed by a news station and he did a little dance. The clip ended up going viral, which makes Chuck very proud.

It is not unusual to see the couple wearing matching t-shirts with the organization's logo on it. Chuck visits many schools and other places in the Waukesha County talking about his service in the Navy.

"It is good to remember history, people need to remember the wars," Beverly said.

Beverly showed off a huge poster with handwritten messages from students he spoke to. She also pointed to a homemade quilt made by the same students.

Still cute after all these years

Chuck showed off the vintage stove in the kitchen from when they were first were married. In the morning they enjoy a cup of coffee and each other's company.

In Chuck's opinion, the idea of marriage is very different from when he was younger. He said people had different values about love and being intimate.

"I think that is why we enjoyed each other for so long. We didn't get caught up in all that trip-trap," he said.

The couple hugs as Chuck playfully gives his wife a pat on the bottom.

Beverly said she loves Chuck because he is honest, good to her and is funny.

"She is worth being good for," Chuck said.

The couple sleeps in twin beds and at night they hold hands. Chuck gives a small talk or says a prayer before falling asleep. Even sweeter, they say goodnight to their grand-dog.

Beverly points to the stuffed animal on the couch. It is a reminder of the actual dog, who is apart from them, living temporarily in Burlington.

"If she had to choose between me and the dog, the dog would win," Chuck said.

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