Joseph and Lois Golden sit in their Royal Oak home with their eldest child, Marsha Golden, of Colorado, left; Marsha’s daughter, Hailey Packer, of Ann Arbor, right; and Packer’s 5-month-old daughter, Harper, on Aug. 6.

Joseph and Lois Golden sit in their Royal Oak home with their eldest child, Marsha Golden, of Colorado, left; Marsha’s daughter, Hailey Packer, of Ann Arbor, right; and Packer’s 5-month-old daughter, Harper, on Aug. 6.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Royal Oak couple to celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 12, 2021

 Joseph and Lois Golden pose for a picture at their son Christopher’s wedding at the Knights of Columbus in Clawson, surrounded by their seven children — from left to right, Brenda, Thom, Debbie, Christopher, Marsha, Joe and Donna.

Joseph and Lois Golden pose for a picture at their son Christopher’s wedding at the Knights of Columbus in Clawson, surrounded by their seven children — from left to right, Brenda, Thom, Debbie, Christopher, Marsha, Joe and Donna.

Photo provided by Thom Golden

 Lois and Joseph Golden dance at their wedding at St. Jude Parish in Detroit on Aug. 25, 1951. The couple, who have lived in Royal Oak since 1954, will soon celebrate their 70th anniversary.

Lois and Joseph Golden dance at their wedding at St. Jude Parish in Detroit on Aug. 25, 1951. The couple, who have lived in Royal Oak since 1954, will soon celebrate their 70th anniversary.

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ROYAL OAK — Joseph and Lois Golden wed in 1951 at the ages of 18 and 19, respectively, and moved into their current home in northern Royal Oak three years later.

They will celebrate their 70th year of marriage on Aug. 25.

The couple, now 88 and 89, recall their younger years as a very different time in America and the city of Royal Oak. Within 12 years, they welcomed seven children into their family: Brenda, Thom, Debbie, Christopher, Marsha, Joe and Donna, who died from cancer in 2004.

For many years, the couple were active in their jobs, bowling leagues and other activities together and with family. Lately, they have begun to slow down a little, and can no longer dance together in the swing style they love to Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife.”

However, their love for each other and their family remains strong. They now have 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

While Joseph and Lois attended the same grade school, they didn’t strike up a relationship until their senior year of high school. Afterward, they married quickly with the intention of starting a family.

“My parents thought that Joe was a good guy and it was OK with them that we got married, although his parents were not that happy,” Lois said. “We got through it anyway.”

Joseph said the pair had a large party to celebrate their union and then left for their honeymoon in the Irish Hills with all the money they had left — $63 — and rented a cabin for the week.

The pair both grew up in Catholic families and installed the tradition of church on Sundays in their household. They fondly recalled celebrating their children’s sacraments, especially first communion.

Joseph worked long hours and overtime at a Chrysler factory assembling truck parts while Lois worked long hours raising their family and keeping the house. When the children were older, she took a part-time position at Sears and continues to work as a Mary Kay consultant, a position she has held for more than 30 years.

“I couldn’t give her a lot of help. I worked 10 hours a day, but I got home to help her and take care to eat dinner with the family,” Joseph said.

Lois added that sitting down to a family dinner in the evening “was a must.”

“We had a lot of meatloaf dinners, a lot of tuna fish and peas. Lois always had some dinner menu for the kids, like hot dogs,” Joseph said.

The pair said they stayed in Royal Oak and added a couple extensions onto the home, including a bedroom for them and a recreation room for the kids, because Guardian Angels was within walking distance and then Bishop Foley High School was built a couple of blocks away.

Joseph also led a few bands, including a 17-piece big band and a wedding band. Lois sang as lead soprano at Guardian Angels. The couple also hosted big parties and their children’s weddings at the Knights of Columbus in Clawson, where Joseph served as grand knight for seven years.

Thom Golden, their second-youngest child, moved back to Royal Oak from Ortonville in March to help his parents.

“My mom will turn 89 on Aug. 7. My dad always teases her that she’s three months older than him,” Thom said. “We were able to afford a second home in Lakeville on the lake. It wasn’t fancy. In other words, it had an outhouse, no running water and we had to pump the well to get the water to come out.”

He said the family getaway was memorable and made for a “super fun childhood in summer.” He also recalled the family taking two major vacations in 1969 and 1972 in a 24-foot trailer for which his dad purchased a new station wagon.

“They are still active and very sound of mind, although it’s getting a little harder for them to get around. They both use a cane and a walker now,” Thom said. “I’m the one who feels blessed to be almost 60 years old and have both my parents. I feel like every moment I can spend time with them is a moment to be thankful.”

Thom recalled his childhood as idyllic, with 20 or so neighborhood kids playing outside until the streetlights came on and his parents joining neighbors for card clubs and cocktail parties.

Lois said Christmas was an important holiday for the family, and that she and Joseph spent $15 on each child to purchase five gifts. She said she finally took the part-time job at Sears because she no longer wanted to charge the presents.

The couple also offered advice on what helped their marriage stay strong over seven decades.

“I always write on a card that I give to a couple who has just got married to always think about what you say to your partner. How would you feel if that’s what they said to you? Always be aware of how you’re speaking to your spouse and how you speak when you’re out together,” Lois said.

Joseph said that he takes the maxim “never go to bed upset” to heart.

“We always tried to have a conversation, even though we had a disagreement or something during the day, but always at night we try to be civil to each other and talk to each other,” he said. “If you want to continue to be married, it’s a give and take.”

During their busiest days apart when monotony became an issue, the couple would meet in a park, take their lunch together and drink a glass of wine to ensure their spark stayed alive.

Thom added that his parents’ bedroom was always off-limits to him and his siblings, and if they needed something, they had to knock because it was a “special place for them to go and talk about whatever was going on.”

Marsha Golden, the eldest child and a resident of Boulder County, Colorado, said the one thing that sticks out to her about growing up was the importance of attending church every Sunday.

“With all the kids, we took up a whole pew, but everyone was given the opportunity of a spiritual upbringing and, to this day, I’m very grateful my parents opened the door to me,” Marsha said. “Not all of us are practicing Catholics, but by involving us in the Catholic church and a spiritual upbringing, it helped direct us on the path of generosity and caring for others.”

She said she was grateful for her parents’ personal sacrifice to provide for weekend getaways and memorable cross-country trips out west.

“When I think my father was (my daughter Hailey’s age) — 36 years old — and took seven children across the country for weeks, it bowls me over,” Marsha said. “He was such a young man to take on that kind of responsibility.”

She added that some of her siblings moved out West because of the opportunity to experience the Petrified Forest, Black Hills, Grand Canyon when one could drive up to the edge, Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Hailey Packer, of Ann Arbor, said her grandparents’ Royal Oak house has always felt like home to her.

“When I came here as a child, Grandma and Grandpa made it so special,” Packer said. “I lived here at one point in time and they’ve always been there for me through the ups and the downs. I always wished they’d be here if I had a child one day, and this is a miracle.”

Packer’s daughter, Harper Hiotas, recently turned 5 months old.

The family is planning a gathering of approximately 30 relatives to celebrate Joseph and Lois’ 70th anniversary at a house on a lake to reminisce about the old days at the cottage, with games and cards, Thom said.

“One of the biggest things I miss is we just can’t dance anymore,” Lois said. “We’re fairly healthy, and it doesn’t stop us from being happy and loving our children and grandchildren.”

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