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Willetts celebrate 75 years of marriage

Ruth and Joe Willett recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary at the Tuftonboro home of daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Paul Matlock. (Photo by Elissa Paquette) (click for larger version)
December 09, 2021
WOLFEBORO — Joe and Ruth Willett celebrated 75 years of marriage on Saturday, Nov. 27 at the Tuftonboro home of daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Paul Matlock, along with daughters, Ann Willett of Tamworth, with husband Warren Seavey, Brooke Rines and husband Jim, of Ossipee, and extended family members and past neighbors.

The couple married in 1946 after the war. A mechanic, he helped keep the army moving. That included the Battle of the Bulge as a member of General George Patton's army fighting in Normandy and France. He also participated in the liberation of a concentration camp a memory so painful that he says he's blocked it out.

The couple lived in Pembroke, Mass., in the house in which Joe was raised. He established a business as a mechanic and worked for Massachusetts General Electric for a number of years. The family, which included three daughters, vacationed in Wakefield in the home that Ruth's family spent summers in for many years.

Ruth recalls the annual trips from Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. that she and her brother would make by train with their mother to Mathew Station in Wakefield each summer. Route 16 was a winding road then, and Pine River Pond Road (Leighton's Corner Road at that time) was a dirt road, so infrequently travelled that sometimes the whole summer would go by without their hearing a single car go by. No so these days!

She and her brother would walk to the general store once a week for provisions and fish for supper at the dam on the way home. They bought vegetables and milk from Aaron Young's farm down the road, and there were fish to be caught from the brook that traverses their property as well.

Much has changed over the years, but the Willetts continue to enjoy life in rural New Hampshire.

In 1985, they were able to retire to the home they had purchased years before. They remain there today.

Shortly after retirement, Ruth and Joe began volunteering to deliver meals for the nonprofit organization, Meals on Wheels, and so began a commitment spanning close to 35 years. They've always been active community participants, says their daughter Sarah, who recalls they "square danced like crazy all during my growing up."

These days, with Joe now 98 and Ruth now 95, they are no longer delivering meals. In fact, they now are recipients, but they are able to take care of themselves and look out for each other. Joe still fixes things, and Ruth remains an avid reader, though attending book groups is a thing of the past.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Littleon Food Coop
Littleon Food Coop
Town of Barnsted
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