60 years ago, he danced away with her heart Maury and Patricia Kools started their courtship at a dance
By GAY GRIESBACH For the Daily News
A love story that has endured for 60 years started with a dance.
Maury and Patricia Kools of Hartford celebrated the milestone with family and friends a bit early at Alpine Retreat, a restaurant the couple owned for 30 years.
When it comes to conflict resolution, Patricia, 83, said sometimes a disagreement requires a cooling-off period. “And you always talk over purchases beforehand,” Maury, 82 said.
Patricia was a farm girl from Sherwood, Maury a big-city boy from Appleton and they met at a popular Fox Valley hangout — Whitey’s.
Maury likes to say his first encounter with Patricia was “sight unseen.”
“I was with a buddy and there were two gals in a booth. My buddy wanted to dance with the one he could see — the other one was faced away from us. He said, ‘You’ve got to ask the other one to dance,’” Maury said.
His friends’ ulterior motive was to snag a ride in a Buick Roadmaster, a car he thought the girl owned.
Although the Roadmaster belonged to another, Maury and his pal ended up with a bigger prize when through the magic of courtship, the dance partners became their wives.
While Maury and Patricia dated for three years, neither can recall an on-bended-knee proposal. “I just assumed we would get married,” Maury said.
The day before he left for Army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Maury gave Patricia an engagement ring. After training, he returned on a Sunday, July 25, 1954, for a 14-day leave. The couple married July 28, at Sacred Heart Church in Patricia’s hometown.
Returning to military service, they banked Patricia’s $91.37 allotment check, saving for the future while she lived in a small apartment in the Fox Valley. In October that year, Maury’s parents took Patricia to live with her husband at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia, where she got a civilian quartermaster job.
“Life was good there — we didn’t have a phone or TV,” Maury said.
“Our apartment cost $50 a month — furnished,” Patricia said.
The couple spent their weekends sightseeing, traveling the hour or so to Washington, D.C.
Maury and Patricia returned to the Appleton area after his hitch ended and in 1956 their daughter Ann Kools was born, followed by Dan in 1959, Mary in 1963 and Ed in 1966.
After Maury worked in sales and management for three companies that either merged or were sold, he said, “I wanted something of my own.”
That something turned out to be the Alpine Retreat, which he bought with his brother-in-law Bill Klemmer. After a few years, Maury bought out Klemmer’s share.
The Kools lived upstairs from the Hubertus restaurant, with Maury running the bar and Patricia in the kitchen, and their children helping out until they grew up and moved on — Ann is a gastroenterologist, Dan a mechanical engineer and Mary (Taylor) an electrical engineer. Ed is a sales manager for a Waukesha company.
Both expressed pride in their children, six grandchildren and the latest addition to the Kools line, a grandson, Sam. The Kools ran the Alpine Retreat for 30 years, retiring in 2000.