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Spotlight on sweethearts: Jim & Gayle Roose

Spotlight on sweethearts: Jim & Gayle Roose

Jim and Gayle Roose met at the University of Sioux Falls, where they were both students. “I spotted her sitting with a bunch of girls, and went right up and talked to them,” Jim said.

Gayle’s girlfriends discouraged her from seeing Jim, but a few days later he was out driving when he spotted the young woman who had caught his eye.

“I stopped and asked if she wanted to go to church,” Jim said. “And that did it for her.” He jokes that his red and white ’56 Chevy might have also been a contributing factor.

The couple married on June 13, 1964, and celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary last year.

“Those were the days,” Jim said. “We had $100 for a honeymoon, so we took a round trip to Rapid City, South Dakota” before settling into their first apartment.

The newlyweds spent their wedding night at a motel in Rock Island, Ill., and laughed over the sign on the marquee: “A breathtaking room for the bride and the groom.”

Jim and Gayle welcomed their first child in Sioux Falls, their son Jim. Daughter Tracey was born in Omaha, where they moved in 1970.

Jim began his career working for a finance company and ended up managing corporate real estate for Wells Fargo. Gayle worked as a preschool teacher for many years.

The couple also lived in Des Moines and Denver before moving to Wichita in 2015 to be closer to their daughter. They were two of the first residents of The Westerly Residences at Wichita Presbyterian Manor.

Earlier that year, Gayle had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent treatment, including surgery. Four years later, they discovered the cancer had returned, bigger than ever. This time, Gayle declined treatment.

At the time of this writing, Gayle was no longer able to speak. She still smiles a lot, especially on the occasion of a visit from one of her eight grandchildren.

Jim still spends long stretches of time sitting with his wife in the skilled nursing neighborhood.

“This is probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done in our lives,” he said, gently touching his wife’s hand.

He says they were still lucky to have each other and to have the opportunity to go on several cruises. Their favorite was a two-week sail around the British Isles.

Jim believes their marriage lasted because they were both suited to each other and committed to talking things out instead of turning away from conflict.

“We agreed on just about everything, so it wasn’t hard,” he said. “We had our tough years — everybody does — but we worked through it, and here we are.”


PHOTO: Jim and Gayle Roose met at the University of Sioux Falls, where they were both students. “I spotted her sitting with a bunch of girls, and went right up and talked to them,” Jim said.

Gayle’s girlfriends discouraged her from seeing Jim, but a few days later he was out driving when he spotted the young woman who had caught his eye.

“I stopped and asked if she wanted to go to church,” Jim said. “And that did it for her.” He jokes that his red and white ’56 Chevy might have also been a contributing factor.

The couple married on June 13, 1964, and celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary last year.

“Those were the days,” Jim said. “We had $100 for a honeymoon, so we took a round trip to Rapid City, South Dakota” before settling into their first apartment.

The newlyweds spent their wedding night at a motel in Rock Island, Ill., and laughed over the sign on the marquee: “A breathtaking room for the bride and the groom.”

Jim and Gayle welcomed their first child in Sioux Falls, their son Jim. Daughter Tracey was born in Omaha, where they moved in 1970.

Jim began his career working for a finance company and ended up managing corporate real estate for Wells Fargo. Gayle worked as a preschool teacher for many years.

The couple also lived in Des Moines and Denver before moving to Wichita in 2015 to be closer to their daughter. They were two of the first residents of The Westerly Residences at Wichita Presbyterian Manor.

Earlier that year, Gayle had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent treatment, including surgery. Four years later, they discovered the cancer had returned, bigger than ever. This time, Gayle declined treatment.

At the time of this writing, Gayle was no longer able to speak. She still smiles a lot, especially on the occasion of a visit from one of her eight grandchildren.

Jim still spends long stretches of time sitting with his wife in the skilled nursing neighborhood.

“This is probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done in our lives,” he said, gently touching his wife’s hand.

He says they were still lucky to have each other and to have the opportunity to go on several cruises. Their favorite was a two-week sail around the British Isles.

Jim believes their marriage lasted because they were both suited to each other and committed to talking things out instead of turning away from conflict.

“We agreed on just about everything, so it wasn’t hard,” he said. “We had our tough years —

everybody does — but we worked through it, and here we are.”

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