Only growing closer

It didn’t take long for John and Jane Ausman to fall in love.

“I think within a couple of months, I thought ‘Jane’s the only one,'” said John. “I didn’t tell her that.”

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They met while attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Their first encounter was actually a blind date in late spring.

By Christmas, they were engaged.

“I just asked her,” said John. “I don’t know that I planned that either. I don’t recall thinking that’s what I’m going to do this evening.”

He proposed in the hallway of Jane’s dorm. In the following days, they went together to pick out an engagement ring. Even after almost 56 years of marriage, Jane still wears her original ring.

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Jane received the ring on the left for their 25th wedding anniversary. The other set is her original engagement ring and wedding band from 56 years ago.

They married in Madison with their reception taking place at the Edgewater Hotel. Jane fondly remembers needing help finding the hook under her long train that would hold the dress up. John assisted by going under her dress to have a look, while a crowd watched and cheered.

“That’s the most memorable thing,” said Jane.

After graduating from college, the newlyweds moved to California where John had accepted a job.


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Several years later, the first big test in their marriage took place when John’s work sent him overseas for several years.

“When we were together in Europe, I think we were closer together because it was us and them,” said John.

Jane says it was a wonderful time experiencing new countries and cultures. They would eventually move back to the U.S. But their marriage would be tested again when their only son Andrew died.

“It was a bad time for us,” said John. “But I can’t say we got through it, you never get through it truly. We gave money to his school to establish a scholarship, so there’s something that has life after his death.”

Through life’s challenges, they both say they never once thought about leaving.

“That’s the way it was done and that’s the mindset I had,” said John. “You get together and it’s life until death.”

And above all, they both say they just enjoy being around each other. They live together now in a retirement community.

“If John isn’t with me, people ask ‘where’s John'” said Jane. “I never thought about that before that moving here has brought us closer together.”

They enjoy watching Netflix and take meditation classes together. They also visit their daughter often who lives on a farm in southeastern Wisconsin.

Their key piece of advice for any married couple: communicate.

“We listen to each other, we respect one another’s opinions, even though we don’t always agree,” said John. “But we find ways somehow, based on whatever got us to this point, we find ways to make decisions.”

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John and Jane’s son Andrew with Andrew’s wife.
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John and Jane (left) along with their grandson, son Andrew, daughter-in-law, and daughter.
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The Ausman’s will celebrate 56 years of marriage in June.


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