Marking 60 celebratory years
Frisco residents George and Anna Coughlin are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today. The two met at Camp LeJeune during World War II at the base’s bowling alley.”I looked at her and she looked pretty good,” said George. “I thought I better keep my eye on her.””It wasn’t instant love,” said Anna, but it has obviously been lasting.Anna was born on March 15, 1921, to William and Gertrude Herge. She grew up in Ellwood City, Penn., where her father worked in the U.S. Steel mills and her mother was a housewife. She was the youngest of six children. She grew up during the Great Depression and said, “Back in those days you really had to watch your pennies. You were lucky if your father had two days of work a week. We really learned to appreciate everything.”She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1939, then enrolled at Carnegie Technical School in Pittsburgh to study dietetics. America was soon to get pulled into World War II. “I was buying war bonds like everyone else,” said Anna, thinking back six decades into her past. “But I thought I should do more and left college and enlisted in the Marine Corps.”George was born on May 7, 1923, to Richard and Louise Coughlin in Brockton, Mass., where his father was a general manager of a meat company in Boston. His mother was a housewife. Though his father made a living working at the meat company, he was also a piano teacher and went to the Conservatory of Music in Boston.
“He came from a family of seven,” said George of his father. “All five boys were musicians.””I had a happy childhood,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot, so we all bound together just to keep things working.”George graduated from Mechanic High School (a military school) in 1942 and got a scholarship from the Boston Bruins farm hockey team. Though he had a love for hockey, he never was able to pursue the sport professionally, as he, too, enlisted with the Marine Corps and was sent to Camp LeJeune.The couple met in the beginning of 1943 at the bowling alley. “I told him I wasn’t dating,” said Anna.”That kind of put me down,” said George. “But we had a couple of dates before I shipped out. I wrote her letters the whole time I was gone.”While Anna remained stateside at Camp LeJeune, George was sent to the South China Sea, where he took part in the invasion of Saipan and Tinian with the 4th Marine Division. “Quite honestly, I was frightened,” said George. “The first few days on Saipan, we lost nearly 2,000 men. On Tinian, about 600 to 800 were killed. It was a bloody war. I feel lucky to be sitting here.”He said out of 78 men in his division, only three are still alive today.
After four years of service, George was discharged on February 28, 1946.Anna by then was working in an electrical store her brother owned in Ellwood City. George returned to Boston where he took some courses on the G.I. Bill. His brother was on the Boston police force and convinced him to take some courses at the police academy.Anna came down to Boston and the couple married on May 1, 1946. “My wife didn’t like Boston,” said George. “She thought the people were to uptight, so we moved to Ellwood City and I spent the next 35 years in law enforcement.”They have three children: Cynthia (Shingleton), who works for a dentist in Ft. Worth, Texas; Richard, who is a renowned surgeon living in San Francisco and frequently does overseas medical missions; and Rebecca who lives in Denver and is a learning program manager for Molson/Coors.After George retired, their son convinced them to move to Colorado.”He said if we would move west of the Mississippi, he would be able to see us more,” said George. “He likes skiing and liked this area. Our daughter was also living in Denver.”
The couple first came to Colorado in September of 1989 and eventually bought a house in Frisco, where they have lived for the last 16 years.”It’s beautiful. An ideal place to live,” said George of their decision to come to Frisco. “Now the winters are a little long for us,” said Anna, who has been working as a receptionist the last 13 years at FirstBank in Silverthorne. “We will keep this house, but probably start spending our winters somewhere else.”While Anna works three days a week (“I love to stay busy,” she says), George takes care of the house (“Don’t put that in, my friends will give me a rough time,” says George.)”If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to work,” said Anna. The couple have three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.”We are fortunate to have our kids close by,” said George. “We’ve always been a close family.” For their platinum anniversary they will go somewhere nice for dinner, said George, but the real celebration will come the following weekend when 17 of their clan – children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and perhaps George’s brother from Cape Cod – will come to Frisco to celebrate their 60-year milestone.”Sixty years is a long time,” said George. “I think we will be doing a lot of reminiscing.”
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