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Loving life, while having the last laugh after 70 years of marriage

by Mick Rhodes | mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com

Claremont residents Joseph and Sylvia Platte are most definitely having the last laugh.

“Mom and dad were very young when they got married, and the priest almost refused to do the ceremony,” said their daughter, Theresa Gillette. “He predicted ‘It would never last.’ Seventy  years later they’re still laughing about that.”

Indeed, that forecast—made in 1951 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseville, Michigan—proved less than sage. The Plattes will join an exclusive club next week when on February 3 they commemorate 70 years of marriage, seven children, 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren later.

The high school sweethearts moved west in 1958 with their four children, where they added three more “California girls” to the family. They lived in Los Angeles and South Pasadena before moving to Claremont in 1998.

“They said they drew a circle on a map connecting all their children’s homes and Claremont was right in the middle,” Ms. Gillette said.

Mr. Platte is the youngest of seven children and Mrs. Platte is one of 14, so large families run in their DNA.

The family had planned a celebratory 70th anniversary formal dinner with their children, but due to the ongoing pandemic, it has been rescheduled.

“Joe” worked as a maintenance job foreman for the now defunct Boys Markets chain in Los Angeles for more than 20 years, then as a maintenance manager for David Shultz Property Management in Glendale. Sylvia was a homemaker until 1985, when she began working as a realtor.

The couple both retired in 1996.

Mr. and Mrs. Platte, 90 and 86, respectively, are members of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Claremont. Prior to the pandemic they were active in the Silver Sneakers seniors program in Rancho Cucamonga, going to the gym three times per week.

“The family likes to celebrate special occasions at the Candlelight Pavilion and we are anxiously awaiting their re-opening so we can go as a family again,” Ms. Gillette said. “Last year we were able to commemorate their 69th anniversary before they had to shut down due to COVID.”

The large extended family marked Mr. Platte’s 90th birthday last August in pandemic-friendly fashion.

“Since the family could not gather, we had all the kids and grandkids send cards, letters, pictures, and photos,” said Ms. Gillette, who then created a large collage. “We snuck over to mom and dad’s house during the night and hung the collage on their front porch where dad would see it first thing when he got up on this birthday.”

During normal times the family holds a family Christmas party the weekend before the holiday.  The Platte’s son-in-law Craig takes a family photo and daughter-in-law Debbie creates a calendar with all the clan’s birthdays and anniversaries and distributes it to all Platte kinfolk.

“We even have one day, October 20, that has four family members sharing the same birthday!” Ms. Gillette said.

The COURIER joins the couple’s sizable brood in wishing the Plattes a very happy 70th anniversary.

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