Parsons — 50th

Parsons Family photos MERLE AND BETTY PARSONS

PETOSKEY, Mich. — Merle and Betty Parsons exchanged wedding vows with a nuptial Mass and double-ring ceremony officiated by the Rev. Adolph Thillman, O.F.M. at St. Francis Xavier Church in Petoskey, Mich., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 1967.

That was the month and year of the Great Blizzard which moved from Chicago north into Michigan. Returning from their Niagara Falls honeymoon 100 cars and semis scattered the roadway ditches and medians in the Houghton Lake area.

Remembering that wintery time so many years before, they chose to have a summer 50th wedding celebration on Aug. 12 in the Petoskey area.

Stafford’s Perry Hotel, the Reycraft Room, was reserved and under the expert guidance of a former local Iron Mountain girl, Angie (Fuse) Whitener, (director of sales/Stafford’s Hospitality of Northern Lower Michigan), a lovely event evolved. Mother Nature provided a respite from the numerous summer rains with a beautiful, sunny northern Michigan day.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful presentation of hors d’oeuvres of cold smoked salmon pinwheels and gourmet cheese, nut, and fruit tray followed by a deliciously prepared luncheon buffet with main entrees of Chicken Dijon and Whitefish Meuniere.

During the luncheon movies of the wedding, breakfast, and reception at the Rod and Gun Club in Charlevoix played on the TV screen bringing back memories of the happy event. Taped music from the ’60s, arranged by the couples’ daughter and son-in-law, provided background music with Shawn in charge of the visual and audio.

Attending the celebration were members of the wedding party of 50 years ago including Marilyn Purkiss, the bride’s sister as matron of honor, Donna (Boda) Searles, the bride’s friend as maid of honor, and Caroline Gray, the bride’s sister-in-law as Bridesmaid. The groom’s best friend and best man, Herb Hamill, also attended. Attending also were nephews of the bride, Steve Purkiss, as the ring bearer and James Purkiss as the page accompanying his sister, Julianne

Purkiss (now Zenner), the flower girl. Missing members and spouses were remembered at the celebration. Spouses, guests, and Merle and Betty’s children: daughter, Lori Smith, and husband Shawn and recently married son, Jeff, and wife, Mercia, were also in attendance.

The celebration continued with a short drive to Alanson where “Captain Jeff” awaited the party’s arrival for a Pontoon Riverboat Cruise of the Inland Waterway on the Crooked River.

Champagne, anniversary cake and snacks were enjoyed as “Captain Jeff” piloted the boat past numerous cottages, around Devil’s Elbow through the scenic inland passage to Burt Lake, pointing out flora and fauna along the way.

Guests and family attended from Iron Mountain, Levering, Burt Lake, Petoskey, Traverse City, Mesick, Minneapolis, and Ogden, Utah.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, Merle and Betty had their marriage and family blessed by Father Bradley Nursey at St. Francis Xavier Church in Petoskey, where they were married 50 years ago.

Merle and Betty”s marriage was followed by a stint in the U.S. Air Force for Merle, some time in Europe for the young couple, a corporate career with Sears for Merle and later as an independent owner of the Sears Retail Dealer Store in Kingsford. Merle retired from the store in 2008.

Betty’s work career started as a transcriptionist at the Bums Clinic in Petoskey then secretary to the Administrator Glenn D. Garrett. She was a medical transcriptionist at the Holyoke Hospital in Massachusetts, seasonal home typist for Swiss Colony, and full-time transcriptionist at the Monroe Clinic in Monroe, Wis.

She worked for Dr. John Garrett in Iron Mountain, and the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department. She also served as office manager at the Sears Dealer Store in Kingsford.

Merle and Betty Parsons have been Iron Mountain residents since 1975.