Weekly Tips & Insights

Jack and Dawn celebrate 70 years of marriage today. Here's their beautiful love story.


Today, most of us will be thinking about summer; how much is already gone, what vacation time we might have left, or when will school start again.

But for Jack and Dawn Harbison, today is always a particularly special day because it’s their wedding anniversary. This year is their 70th.


Here's their story:

Early Relationship Years

Dawn and Jack's romance has moments from an American fairy tale. They were high school sweethearts who first met at the Vinita Park United Methodist Church in North St. Louis. It was love at first sight.

When Jack graduated, he went into the Army and soon found himself in charge of guarding German P.O.W’s as part of the first occupational force. It was a lot of responsibility for someone so young, but the Army saw leadership skills in him. In fact, they tried to convince him to stay on as an officer as the war was ending, but Dawn asked him in a letter to come home. So, he did.

Jack returned to St. Louis in 1948, and he married Dawn.


With his new wife, Jack entered the workforce via a lithograph apprenticeship. He completed the apprenticeship at Lithocraft Studios in four years, and then started at the company full-time. He remained at the company for 38 years, climbing his way to president. His career was accomplished, and he has many fond memories from it.

Dawn worked for a few years after they got married; however, they were new parents, so it was decided that she'd stay home to raise the children. From 1955 to 1969, they had four boys - Mark, David, Andrew and Stephen. Together, they lived happily in the Olivette home they would ultimately live in for almost 60 years.

When Jack finally retired, he and Dawn took several trips. But, in recent years concessions have been made due to health complications. Their most recent journey has taken them to Autumn View Gardens Assisted Living in Creve Coeur where they live happily together.

Recent Years Together


2018 has been a difficult year for Dawn as she's fell victim to pneumonia three times. She also had a lump removed from her breast. She has recently finished radiation, and is fighting hard to improve. The care team from VNA's Advanced Illness Management program is helping with her care.

Dawn's goal is to be able to return back to church with Jack soon. Faith is something they both treasure deeply.

Jack says, "I've missed going to church with Dawn, but I've had no lapses in prayer. God has been the key. I’ve done a lot of hard praying over the last few years. Dawn has been a fighter all the way through.’’

Jack and Dawn share a perfect love, and each day they're reminded of their beautiful life together as they look into each other's eyes.

So, as the sun rises today high into the mid-summer sky it will create warmth on the earth below. But, it will have to compete with the light and warmth radiating from Autumn View Gardens and the hearts of Jack and Dawn as they celebrate their 70th year together.

It's a warm day for all of us.

Happy Anniversary Jack and Dawn!

#cancer #patientcare #advancedillnessmanagement #patientstories

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