ARLINGTON — The Olympic Place Retirement Community’s first “Love of a Lifetime” Valentine’s Day-themed event on Feb. 16 drew an estimated 80-100 attendees out of its 116 residents, before their visiting friends and family members were even counted, but one couple in particular got to be big stars for the evening.
“We’re looking to turn this into an annual tradition,” said Nancy Tisdel, assistant administrator at Olympic Place. “It’s not only for couples who are still together, but also those who have lost spouses or other loved ones, to honor their memories and the love they shared.”
In addition to dinner, dancing and the chance to win a quarter-karat diamond pendant as a prize, the evening’s events also included the naming of a Valentine’s king and queen, which this year was Lorang and Mildred “Mim” Severson, who plan to celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary this September.
Among the family members who joined Lorang and Mim for the night were their son, Charlie Severson, and his wife Carol, who recounted how Lorang and Mim’s marriage persevered in spite of Lorang being drafted into the Army for World War II six months after his wedding, and not seeing Mim for the next four years.
“What’s funny is that, once he came back, they spent their entire lives together in a different Arlington, in South Dakota, before they moved here in April of last year,” said Charlie Severson, who credited his parents’ years of running the family farm with instilling a strong work ethic in their own children. “The morning after their honeymoon, my dad got woken up at 5 a.m. to do chores,” he laughed. “My mom was right out there in the fields beside him. She’s never liked to just sit around. She’d milk 28 cows in a day and still have a hot meal ready at the end of the day. They’re hardcore Norwegians.”
Carol Severson’s parents died when she was younger, and she expressed her gratitude to Lorang and Mim for always making her feel like a daughter as much as a daughter-in-law.
“They golfed and bowled and took trips around the world together,” Carol Severson said. “They’ve been active in their church and community. I don’t think they make women like Mim today. She did as much as six regular women do today,” she laughed.
After their meal, Lorang and Mim Severson showed they could still share one of their other favorite hobbies, as they glided across the dance floor in each other’s arms.