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Fifty years of learning and loving: 2012 marks BGSU reunion year and decades of romance for Jack and Helenanne Frobose

Jack Frobose had flowers for three Bowling Green women on his first date with his future bride, Helenanne ’62.

They had only just been introduced at the Falcon’s Nest when he invited her to the 1961 Homecoming football game versus Kent State. They agreed it would be improper to attend together without chaperones, because, after all, she was engaged to someone else and he was not yet divorced. At the game, Jack impressed her when he revealed three chrysanthemums — one for Helenanne and each of her girlfriends. She was smitten, and they were soon inseparable.

“We were young whipper-snappers when we were here and now we’re old farts,” Helenanne said, joking with her husband as they entered Prout Chapel for the first time since they were married on campus just weeks after graduation in July, 1962.

Jack winked back. “You can call me whatever you want, we’re just lucky to be here.”

The couple will celebrate fifty years of marriage and their fiftieth college reunion this year. Helenanne and Jack Frobose look forward to rejoining old friends and classmates for the Homecoming festivities on Sept. 29.

As a student, Jack juggled his courses in chemistry and business with full-time employment at Campbell Soup Co. and his volunteer service as a city firefighter.  Originally from New Jersey, he moved to Bowling Green and married after serving in the Korean War as a Marine. He later enrolled at BGSU. Helenanne studied physical education and was involved in various co-curricular activities including the Swan Club, and Alpha Phi Sorority.

Their marriage began with only close family members looking on in Prout Chapel. Though Helenanne’s parents were slow to accept her decision to marry Jack (her former beau was planning to operate her parents’ farm in Upper Sandusky), they joined the couple for the simple ceremony. Jack and Helenanne had little cash for a honeymoon, so they celebrated their new life together with a trip to visit his family in New Jersey.

The two stayed connected to their friends from BGSU as they raised their children. Jack was just a few courses away from his bachelor’s degree before his job took the family out of state. They are retired in Sun City Center, Florida, and spend summers at Helenanne’s childhood home in Upper Sandusky.

Their marriage has endured because they are open enough with each other to discuss difficult issues, they said.

“You just have to talk about it, not ignore it,” Jack said, offering advice to younger couples. “If you have a problem, you have to talk about it.”

As Homecoming approaches, Helenanne is serving on the 50th Reunion Committee. She and Jack have also supported the University in recognition of their reunion year. The Class of 1962 reunion committee suggests that class gifts be designated for the study abroad program, as acknowledgement of the importance of peace and global awareness to a student body that watched many of their classmates take part in two different wars.

Helenanne and Jack will celebrate their wedded bliss this summer, with a vacation to a surprise destination that will include their four children and 10 grandchildren. The celebration won’t be complete until Homecoming on Sept. 29, when the couple join their former classmates for the 50th Reunion brunch and Falcon football game.

The fifty-year milestones seem strange, they said, because it doesn’t feel so long ago that they were students and planning a walk down the aisle at Prout Chapel.

“It doesn’t feel like fifty years,” Jack said. “If everybody that gets married is as happy as we are, there would never be divorce.”

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