Love Lasts in the Uhlig Family

Siblings and their spouses celebrate golden wedding anniversaries

From left, Dennis and Annette Branning, Carl and Glenda Uhlig, and Willard and Sharon Uhlig celebrated their 50th anniversaries within a few years of one another. Photo by Sarah Spratling

By Dianna Troyer

Married for 59 years, Metropolis ranchers Herbert and Iona Uhlig set an example of a lasting love for their children. Three of them—Willard, Carl and Annette—and their spouses celebrated their golden wedding anniversaries.

The couples tell how they met and offer advice about having a loving relation- ship every day, not just on Valentine’s Day.

Willard Falls for Sharon

At a church dance, Sharon noticed Willard intended to ask another girl to dance, so she stopped him.

“I tripped him right when he was about to walk past me,” says Sharon, who was sit- ting with other girls waiting to be asked to dance. “We’d met at a previous dance. I could tell he was going to ask a blond girl to dance, so I had to do something. After I tripped him, I said, ‘Where do you think you’re going? You don’t need to go any farther than me.’”

They still laugh about her dating strategy when Willard was a student at Weber State in Utah.

“She was cute with dark hair and had a good sense of humor,” says Willard. “We still tease each other. We don’t dance anymore though. I’m so stoved up, I can hardly walk across the room.”

Willard and Sharon met in December, were engaged in April, and planned a summer wedding.

“We got married on July 1, 1964,” says Sharon. “It was a Friday. The following Wednesday, he got a draft letter to go to Vietnam. If it wasn’t for our marriage certificate, he would have had to leave.”

The couple lived in Wells, where Willard drove school bus for 33 years. Sharon was an administrator at BeeHive Homes, an assisted living residence.

While raising their five children, they always remembered to celebrate their wedding anniversary, often with a camping trip.

Willard, 76, offers advice for young couples.

“Before you get married, make sure you really love each other,” he says.

“Having a sense of humor helps, and sharing similar values is really important, too,” says Sharon, 77.

They pass those values on to their five children, 25 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Romance Blossoms At the Bowling Alley

Sharon was working at an insurance company when Willard dropped by to visit her and introduce his brother, Carl, to her and her co-workers, including a woman named Glenda.

“When I heard his name, I thought I’d never date a guy named Uhlig because it sounded so funny,” says Glenda. “Then the joke was on me because I married one and became a Uhlig.”

The day she met Carl at the office, she happened to be going out with girlfriends to a bowling alley that evening.

“The guy I’d been dating for two years had dropped me like a hot potato and came in with his new girlfriend,” says Glenda.

She noticed Carl was working at the desk.

“I started flirting with him just to show I wasn’t bothered by the breakup,” she says. “If my old boyfriend hadn’t been there, I would never have had the nerve to talk to Carl.”

Carl took a break from attending Weber State and returned home to work at the family ranch. To maintain their friendship, he and Glenda wrote letters.

“One thing led to another,” says Carl.

About 18 months after they met, they married June 10, 1966.

To have a happy marriage, Carl, 74, advises, “Always consult and confide in each other. Put your partner above yourself. Don’t worry about making a lot of money, either. Do things you can afford to do.”

Glenda, 74, says to give 100 percent in a relationship and not expect a spouse to meet you half way.

“Don’t give up on a marriage because of a disagreement,” she says.

Carl and Glenda have four children, two of whom are adopted Throughout their marriage, they accepted each other’s time commitments with jobs and civic obligations.

Carl served 40 years on the Starr Valley Conservation District board and 14 years with the Nevada Conservation Commission.

Glenda worked at the Four- Way, the El Rancho and 25 years for the Elko County School District. “I drove the school bus route around here,” she says. “Once we got to school, I went to my other job working in the kitchen. For several years, Carl drove half the bus route, too.”

They say they hope to be role models to their four children and four grandchildren.

Summer Job Leads to Lasting Romance

Dennis and Annette Branning met at the Wagon Wheel, a motel and restaurant in Wells where she worked as a waitress during her summers off from college.

Both say from the first time they met, they were always comfortable with each other and could talk about anything.

“He came in for supper because he was working on a road construction crew,” says Annette.

One day, she talked him into giving her a ride home.

“My parents thought he was great,” Annette says. “He helped my dad at the ranch.”

They married October 20, 1967, and lived in Wells. Dennis worked 30 years with the Nevada Department of Transportation on a road maintenance crew. Annette had a 40-year career in banking with Nevada State Bank, retiring in 2009 as manager.

While juggling jobs and raising their three children, Annette, 70, says they had a work ethic and helped each other with chores.

“I’d iron his shirts, and he always kept the car filled with gas and opened the car door for me,” she says. “I appreciated that he was always willing to help take care of the kids, too, and now our three grandchildren.”

Dennis, 72, says helping Annette was a way to show he cared.

He advises young couples to figure out how to get along through life’s ups and downs. “We talked and listened to each other,” Dennis says. “We never fought. There was nothing to argue about.”