Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For Steve and Vickie Wrubel, it's a love 82 years strong

HOLIDAY — Steve Wrubel fixed a light breakfast Tuesday morning and sat down at the dining room table to pay some bills. He blinked hard to make his eyes water.

"I saw better yesterday,'' said Wrubel, 102.

Still, he managed to make out the cable bill — $78.06. Seems like a lot for a man who doesn't watch television. He also paid his car insurance bill — $1,160 for six months coverage on the old Chevy he keeps in the carport. He stopped driving last year, but keeps the car so friends and neighbors can use it to take him shopping and, more important, to visit his beloved Vickie.

Today marks their 82nd wedding anniversary.

Think about that for awhile.

Their longevity and devotion earned recognition from Guinness World Records, although the Wrubels have not yet been able to say "We're No. 1!'' That distinction for years has gone to a Bern, N.C., couple, Herman and Zelmyra Fisher. They celebrated their 86th before Herman died in February at 105.

Guinness has not determined a successor, but it appears to be Marshall and Winnie Kuykendall of New Mexico. They were married on Feb. 14, 1929, seven months before the Wrubels tied the knot in Ubly, Mich.

Steve Wrubel, who worked 35 years for General Motors before retiring to Holiday with Vickie in 1978, doesn't seem all that impressed by records. "It just means we're old,'' he said.

They never had children. "We didn't question that,'' Steve said in an interview when they celebrated their 80th. "God has a plan.''

They lived active, independent lives centered around friends and the Polish-American Club. Then last year, Vickie fell and broke her hip. They celebrated their 81st at the Peninsula Care and Rehabilitation Center in Tarpon Springs. Steve brought her a dozen roses.

A year later, Vickie, 100, remains in the nursing facility. "She'd love to come home,'' Steve said, "but we would have to hire a full-time nurse. I really miss her, but it's easier this way.''

On the days he can't get a friend to drive him, Steve pays $6 one-way for a taxi. "I run up a helluva cab bill,'' he said.

They sit together, hold hands. He can't hear all that she says, "but after this long we don't have any trouble communicating.''

Now that the snowbirds are returning, the Polish-American Club has reopened. Steve's Sunday dinner plans are set and he may find a pinochle game. But Vickie will remain his priority, every day, every week.

She's but a $6 cab ride away.

For Steve and Vickie Wrubel, it's a love 82 years strong 09/27/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 5:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New job for Pinellas mentor to first-year teachers


    Remember Kali Davis, a Pinellas school district teacher whose job last year was to mentor and coach 26 first-year teachers in six of the district's lowest-performing …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg. Davis' year-round job has shifted from coaching first-year teachers at six struggling schools to an instructional coach at Ridgecrest Elementary in Largo.
  2. Good news: Tampa Bay no longer a major foreclosure capital of the country

    Real Estate

    Once in the top five nationally for foreclosure filings, the Tampa Bay area no longer ranks even in the top 25.

    A few short years ago, Tampa Bay was a national hub for foreclosures. Not any more. [Getty Images/iStockphoto]
  3. Largo promotes Joseph Pennino to deputy fire chief

    Public Safety

    LARGO — The city has a new deputy fire chief after Dave Mixson left the post to take a job as chief and director of public safety of the South Pasadena Fire Department.

    Largo Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Pennino
  4. State Attorney announces expansion of Hillsborough juvenile civil citation program


    TAMPA — Kids who, for the first time, commit certain minor crimes in Hillsborough County may now avoid a criminal conviction by completing a civil citation program.

    Thursday's announcement of civil citations for first-time juvenile offenders in Hillsborough County marked the fulfillment of a campaign promise by State Attorney Andrew Warren.
  5. Pinellas County approves settlement with Suncoast fire district

    Public Safety

    SEMINOLE — County commissioners on Tuesday approved a settlement with the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District, closing out a lawsuit filed last year by the district over millions of dollars of emergency medical services funding.