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Cape couple celebrates 75th anniversary

By Staff | Jun 11, 2020

As each car passed their house Thursday afternoon, Al and Bonnie Hofmann couldn’t help from shedding a tear or two.

It was the Cape Coral couple’s 75th wedding anniversary and, just as they sat down in front of their garage to take photos with their great-great grandson, they were greeted with a booming and heartwarming surprise from their friends and family that overwhelmed the two emotionally.

A motorcade of cars, filled with familiar faces and adorned with signs of congratulations, came one by one to honor the pair who tied the knot an astounding 75 years ago.

“The drive-by parade celebration was a huge surprise and success. They both cried,” said their daughter, Karen Fellers. “They couldn’t believe that their friends would do this just for them. As each car came by they would say, ‘Oh, there’s Katherine and Bud!’ and ‘Oh, there’s Linda and Mark!'”

Members of the parade included close friends from the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club they are both a part of, where Al is a HAM radio operator.

Al and Bonnie, both 93 — though Bonnie has a birthday coming up next month — have lived in the Cape for more than 20 years. They were married in their early 20s while Al was still in basic training as a member of the Army Air Force.

Love could not be kept apart, as Bonnie borrowed the money from an aunt to go visit Al before he was to be assigned, under the condition they were not to be married at that time.

“But of course, they did,” Fellers said.

Al spent most of his time during the war in Rome, where he was not involved in combat, though rightfully wears his World War II hat proudly to this day.

When he returned to his home state of Indiana following his duty, he worked on the railroad in Hammond.

Al eventually found his way into sales and remained in that field. He retired from Whirlpool Appliance Company in 1986.

Fellers said her father retired early at the age of 59 because he did not believe he was going to live that much longer – now, here we are, more than 30 years later, loving life and the time he spends with his family.

Fellers said her parents were avid travelers and traversed across the country in their RV. The pair especially loved to golf, and would seek out the best courses they could play throughout America.

“They golfed almost every day until they were in their 80s,” she said.

The Hofmann’s moved to Cape Coral in 1999 and quickly made became ingrained in the community by joining the Cape Coral Newcomers Club.

“They made so many friends,” Fellers said.

The Hofmann’s have four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. They are parents to Fellers and son, Allen.

Family surrounds the couple, as relatives of theirs reside throughout Southwest Florida.

They have played cards together at least once a week, every Friday night, since 2004. Fellers said she and her husband play rummy with them every day.

Watch out for Bonnie, though — she’s a true card shark who has been playing cards since she was a child.

“They always instilled in us the love of family was most important,” Fellers said. “All the memories I have are from family groups or parties of friends. We also camped our whole lives. In the 90s and into the 2000s we camped with their grandchildren and great grandson. We’d have a motorhome, a trailer, a pop up trailer and maybe a fifth wheel. We would caravan down the highway to Orlando or state campgrounds. The whole family all loved to camp. Campfires and storytelling were usually the highlights of the trips.”

A highlight of Al’s life was being able to take the Honor Flight to Washington D.C, with his grandson, Kelly Verplank.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj