Walter and Lisette Kimmel, both 100 years old, celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary at Charlestown Retirement Community in the Renaissance Gardens Meeting Hall.

Walter and Lisette Kimmel can vividly recall their wedding day at Immanuel Lutheran Church on Caroline Street in East Baltimore on Aug. 18, 1940.

It was sunny, hot and humid — typical for Baltimore at that time of year.


"A regular August day," according to Lisette.

It was pretty much the same weather 75 years to the day when more than 45 Charlestown senior living community residents and staff joined together in the meeting room of the assisted living facility Tuesday afternoon to mark the couple's anniversary.


Walter and Lisette, both of whom turned 100 this year, now live at Charlestown. They begun dating when they were 22 after Walter approached Lisette after services one day at Immanuel church, where both were members. They married a few years later.

Against traditional custom, they had to host their ceremony on a Sunday, Walter said, in order to accommodate the wedding party.

"It was the only way we could get everyone there," Walter said.

Walter was a West Baltimore resident and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute graduate, while Lisette was a county girl, having grown up in Arbutus and graduating from Catonsville High School in 1931.


After the wedding, they moved to Baltimore County, settling into a house on Carville Avenue in Arbutus, Lisette said.

Things weren't always easy, they said. Having been married at the end of the Great Depression, Lisette struggled to find work, and money was often tight, she said.

Just months after the birth of their first son in 1943, Walter enlisted in the Navy and was sent overseas, Lisette said. For two years, with help from her mother, she said, she cared for her son.

In time, they made a life for themselves. They had another son. Walter took a job with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., working in the company's street and highway lighting division. In his down time, he said, he was choir director at their church; Lisette served as an organist.

"Our activities really centered around the church," Walter said.

With more than seven decades of memories together, Lisette said she couldn't pick a favorite.

For their 50th anniversary in 1990, they had a family reunion, she said.

Tuesday afternoon's party was planned by Charlestown staff, shortly after Charlestown staff member Natosha Bomgardner met the couple while she was filling in for another staff member. She said she was impressed by the couple's dedication and devotion.

"I said 'Wow, you're 100 and celebrating your 75th anniversary? We need to have a party,'" she said.

So, in honor of the milestone, Charlestown hosted the celebration Tuesday down to the exact time of the couple's 1940 nuptials on that Sunday afternoon.

Walter and Lisette sat together, holding hands, while the Bob Barrett Quartet performed classic love songs such as "What a Wonderful World" and "As Time Goes By" and partygoers ate cake donated in honor of the couple by Catonsville's SugarBakers Cakes.

Charlestown resident Maryann Lombardo attended the party with her husband, David. Even though they had never met the Kimmels, Lombardo said she wanted to celebrate the couple she described as inspiring.

"We're clocking time," she said, smiling and noting that she and her husband have been married for 47 years. "I'm hoping we make it."

The Kimmels sons live in Nebraska and Nevada, and there are four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

As far as advice for other couples who haven't quite made it to three-quarters of a century together, Lisette said mutual appreciation is the key.

"Stay true to each other. Be honest with each other and enjoy each other," she said.

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