Joe and Betty Gruber of Mendon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on November 2 and held a small celebration on November 3 at Main St. Pub in Vicksburg with family and close friends. To honor their 50 years together, they took an Alaskan cruise in August.
Joe and Betty met in 1968 in Elkhart, Indiana where they both were born and raised. Joe was a graduate of Elkhart High School and Betty a graduate of Bethany Christian High School when they met and fell in love. Betty worked at White Hall Laboratory at the time and Joe was an auto mechanic for a local company. After less than a year they were married and after a couple of more years started a family.
In 1975 the couple moved to Vicksburg after Joe accepted a job with Aamco Transmission in Portage. They settled in Vicksburg to raise their three daughters. Joe and Betty spent many years as members of the Coon Hunter’s Association and coached their daughters’ Little League softball teams. Joe umpired in the Little League many years even after his daughters had finished their playing days.
The couple moved to rural Vicksburg in 1994. Joe continued his career as a mechanic with Doerr GMC and eventually retired from the Portage Schools bus garage in 2015. Betty worked at Simmons Ford in Vicksburg for more than 20 years and volunteered as an EMT for the Vicksburg Ambulance Service. She then switched to a career as an executive secretary for State Farm Insurance before she retired in 2016.
Both have been members of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church for more than 20 years and volunteer for the American Red Cross. Betty continues to spend a lot of her free time helping the Red Cross at local blood drives. Joe enjoys tinkering around outside as well as maintaining the grounds at the church. He also enjoys fishing with his family and friends.
The couple has three children. Joanne (Gruber) Craddock of Vicksburg, is married to Doug Craddock. Their son, Mitchel Craddock, was wed to Kristen Olsen in 2016. A second daughter, Therisa Gruber of Vicksburg, has two daughters, Marianna and Kellie Hiemstra, and a son, Robert Gruber. Marianna has a son, Elliot Hiemstra. The third daughter, Marsha Gruber, has a son, Nisajwen Topash of Mendon.