homepage logo

Cape couple celebrates 70th wedding anniversary

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Dec 2, 2021

Jean and David Mikles on their wedding day in 1951. PHOTO PROVIDED

A couple, who spent a little more than 40 years working side by side, will soon celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

“All of us feel like they are such a wonderful example of what marriage should be. They have a true love story,” Judy Kampf said of her parents. “On Dec. 4, the family is coming in and we are going to have a small reception for them with family and friends at the Salvation Army.”

Jean and David Mikles met in Charleston, West Virginia, after he moved there from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to work for his uncle at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club.

While David was in college, he enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War and went to San Antonio for basic training. When he started the training, an announcement was made that they were forming a new Air Force band and those interested could try out. Since he had played in a band since junior high, David tried out. After making the band he traveled to Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

While away, David wrote a letter to Jean every day. He also wrote a letter to Jean’s mother after moving to Oklahoma asking her permission for Jean to move there and live with his sister.

A collage of photographs featuring Jean and David Mikles and their family. The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Dec. 1 with a special family gathering planned for this Saturday, Dec. 4, to mark the milestone. PHOTO  PROVIDED

“My mother reluctantly agreed. I rode a train to Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Jean said.

She said there were a lot of fun times and fellowship when she lived in Oklahoma, as he was stationed only 88 miles away from his hometown, and close to his siblings.

“I lived with his sister until we got married,” Jean said.

Unfortunately when David’s leave was cancelled, they could not head back to Charleston to get married as they had planned. They tied the knot in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Dec. 1, 1951.

“It was a formal wedding. We stayed in Oklahoma until he was discharged 2 1/2 years later,” Jean said.

The married couple traveled back to Charleston, West Virginia, where they filled out an application to attend the Salvation Army seminary. They remained as active officers for 40 years and 24 days.

“We did a variety of things. We were pastors of the churches where we served,” Jean said.

They served from Maryland to Texas and everywhere in-between, including Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.

“We felt the Lord had specifically called us to work in the Salvation Army serving God and serving people. We felt like we were in the right place,” Jean said.

The couple worked as youth officers, working with young people in Kentucky and Tennessee where they ran a camp and had special times for the young people.

David also worked at the territorial headquarters as a communication relations secretary in Atlanta.

“Our last appointment was in Charlotte, North Carolina, as division commanders for six years,” Jean said, which included 60 areas of operation.

The couple always worked side-by-side throughout the years.

They continued to work for Salvation Army after they retired in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1997 for 20 years doing program studies to enlarge the work of Salvation Army. Jean said they worked disaster relief during 9-11, as well as in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

When David turned 85, the couple decided to move to Cape Coral to be close to their daughter in 2017.

“We go to the Salvation Army Church and we play in the church band. We are involved in the worship services. We don’t do any heavy work,” Jean said.

Now nearing their 70th wedding anniversary, they jokingly say their secret to a long marriage is to “marry young and live a long time.”

“We give God the credit for our successful marriage. It is a happy marriage. We still get along with each other and still love each other. My husband says he is a happy man,” Jean said.

With more time on their hands, they said they did a lot of traveling earlier on and now enjoy their swimming pool, watching television, reading and having a lot of company visit their home.

The Mikles have four children, Jim (and Lisa) Mikles of Columbia, Maryland, Judy (and Rick) Kampf of Cape Coral, Ken (and Ruth) Mikles of Marathon, Florida, and Karol (and Jim) Seiler of Decatur, Georgia; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

“We thank God for a good, long, healthy life,” David said.