August 17, 2018

Couple of 65 years is fifth generation of marriages in family lasting 50-plus years

In their home in Waldron on Aug. 2, Carolyn and Omer Weintraut recreate the pose they struck on their wedding day on Aug. 1, 1953. The members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shelby County recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

In their home in Waldron on Aug. 2, Carolyn and Omer Weintraut recreate the pose they struck on their wedding day on Aug. 1, 1953. The members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shelby County recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

WALDRON—When asked to pose while kissing, the bride’s and groom’s lips linger a bit after the camera finishes clicking. They smile, gazing into each others’ eyes as only those deeply in love do.

“Our nieces and nephews always said we were always kissing,” admits the happy wife.

Her name is Carolyn Weintraut, 85. She and her husband Omer, 90, are members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shelby County. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Aug. 1.

“It’s been great,” says Omer. “We’ve been through a lot, done a lot, prayed a lot. We take care of each other.”

It is a pattern that has played out through 187 years and five generations of Weintrauts. (Related: Read more stories of long-time marriages)

Five times 50-plus

In 1831, Franz and Magdelena Weintraut married in Germany. The couple emigrated to America, eventually moving to Morris, in southeastern Indiana, where they were members of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1881.

Their son Nicholas (see “From the Archives” photo on page 16) and his wife Anna settled in Waldron. They became members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, where they marked their 50th anniversary in 1902.

Their descendants remained in the parish, including their son George and his wife Madgalena. That couple celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1941. Their son Albert marked 50 years with his wife Theresia in 1966.

Omer, the son of Albert and Theresia, recalls both his parents’ and his grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary celebrations as being “really nice.” His comment is not surprising, given the closeness of the Weintraub clan. So close, in fact, that it was Omer’s sister who introduced him to his future wife.

‘Family was important to both of us’

Dorine Weintraut and Carolyn Weinantz, both of Shelby County, were working together at the Statehouse in Indianapolis in 1951. Dorine’s brother Omer was on leave from the Navy. She suggested he and Carolyn join her and her boyfriend on a date. Both agreed, and the two couples saw a movie.

Carolyn says that later Omer admitted that after the date “he told his friends he was going to marry me.”

In October of the same year, Dorine invited Carolyn to her wedding. After the nuptial Mass, Carolyn was ready to leave.

“I said, ‘I won’t know anyone to sit with,’ ” she recalls. “Dorine said, ‘You’re going to sit with my brother.’ I think it was planned,” Carolyn adds with a grin.

She didn’t know that the day before the wedding, Omer had received a hardship discharge from the Navy to farm for his father. He was home for good.

The two began to date as often as possible, given their schedules. Carolyn was studying education on a full scholarship at Butler University in Indianapolis. Omer was busy not only farming for his father, but also working nights at the Chambers Corporation, an oven manufacturer located in Shelbyville.

The couple soon discovered their similar interests and values.

“We didn’t care much for going to movies,” says Carolyn. “We both liked cards, so we would play cards with family for dates. Family was important to both of us.”

It still is, she says, noting that the family still “gets together all the time, at least once or twice a month, even the grandkids and great-grandkids,” of which there are eight and six, respectively.

The couple’s two children, Linda Weintraut and Mark Weintraut, both live on farms just down the lane from Omer and Carolyn’s farm. Linda, 63, lives on George and Magdalena Weintraut’s farmstead, which Linda still plows, plants and cultivates.

After a year-and-a-half of dating, Omer proposed to Carolyn. She left Butler, and the two set their wedding date for Aug. 1, 1953, “because the family would be too busy farming [early] in the summer,” Carolyn says.

‘Put his work clothes on, and hasn’t stopped’

With both bride and groom coming from German families and raised with similar values, says Carolyn, “I feel like it wasn’t a big switch for me” marrying into the Weintraut family. “The only difference was our faith background.”

Both Carolyn and Omer were devout in their faith—Carolyn even started at Butler with the idea of putting her education degree to work for a church. The difference was that she was raised in the Protestant rather than the Catholic faith.

“I was raised that ‘the family that prays together stays together,’ ” says Carolyn. “I went to [Mass] with Omer all the time. I was happy to take on his faith.”

Carolyn was welcomed into full communion of the Catholic Church shortly before their wedding.

Any concerns her father might have had about his daughter marrying a Catholic were settled during a stay he had in a hospital while Carolyn and Omer were engaged.

“He was in a room with a Catholic,” she says. “When my dad mentioned I was marrying a Catholic, the man said, ‘Well, you can rest assured that she’ll be going to church every single week.’ That was good enough for my dad.”

He still did some checking around to make sure Omer was a good enough man for his daughter. He asked a banker who knew Omer what his thoughts were on the young man. Carolyn’s father was impressed with the answer.

“He said the banker told him Omer came home from the Navy, put his work clothes on, and hasn’t stopped working since,” Carolyn recounts.

‘I never saw my parents fight’

The same hard-working ethic defined the couple after they wed. They lived as tenants on a farm owned by Omer’s aunt. He farmed both for her and for his father during the day, then worked nights at his aunt’s canning factory in Waldron, “sometimes getting only two hours of sleep,” says Carolyn.

She worked hard as well, helping on the farm and raising their two children. She then spent the next 30 years teaching, first at St. Joseph School in Shelbyville, and then at Waldron Elementary School.

Summers were no time to relax during those years. Taking classes during the summers while still helping on the farm (the Weintrauts bought their own farm in 1969), Carolyn earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Marian College (now Marian University) in Indianapolis, and a master’s degree in education from Indiana University in Bloomington.

“Something that always impressed me is [how] they always worked together,” says Linda. “Mom helped in the fields in the summer, and in winter Dad cleaned, cooked and did the laundry. Whenever they saw the other needed something, they were there.

“And they always prayed together. They’d be on a trip or even just going to Grandma’s [house] 30 minutes away, and they would say the rosary. Now they go to Mass almost every single day,” says Linda, who is also a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish

Perhaps such prayer is the reason she says her parents “never fought. My friends didn’t believe me when I said I never saw my parents fight.”

“I don’t think we ever did get in an argument,” Omer says in agreement.

“Except about where to eat,” Carolyn adds with a chuckle. “Or where to turn.”

‘We’re just joined together’

While Omer credits their 65 years of peaceful marriage to the fact that he “married a good woman,” Carolyn cites the couple’s many similarities.

“We both have mild personalities,” she says, “and we enjoy the same things.”

One of the pastimes they share is fishing—an activity new to Carolyn upon their marriage, and one she came to enjoy.

“After Dad finished in the fields, after supper we would take a blanket and snacks and go fishing” as a family, Linda recalls.

It was a pastime the family enjoyed at a cabin the couple owned near Brookville Reservoir. Later, Carolyn and Omer spent many hours fishing in the winter while at the condominium they rented in Port Aransas, Texas. Last winter was the first season they did not return to Port Aransas in 25 years.

Carolyn and Omer enjoy traveling, too.

“We’ve been to Europe four or five times, been to almost every country there, and all the states,” Carolyn notes. The couple also traveled to Canada, Mexico, and several countries in Central America.

“Really, I don’t know why they bothered keeping a house,” Linda jokes.

In a more serious tone, she describes her parents’ marriage in a simple statement: “They work together, pray together and play together.”

Carolyn nods in agreement.

“We enjoy life, and we enjoy being together,” she says. “We believe in God. I think he intended for us to be together. We love each other, we take care of each other, and God has blessed us.”

After 65 years of marriage, Carolyn summarizes, “We’re just joined together.” †

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