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Torviks celebrate 67 years of marriage

June 20, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Hilmar Torvik has a lot of tales to tell about his adventures, and a whopper of one regarding how he met his wife.

On Saturday, he and Thelma Torvik celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary with a celebration at the Crossings at Hancock Creek, where both reside.

Hilmar was a ramblin' man, especially after he returned from the service as an Army engineer following World War II. He would get off work on a Friday, pack his bags and go somewhere, anywhere, before returning Monday morning.

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Thelma and Hilmar Torvik celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary with a celebration at the Crossings at Hancock Creek Saturday.


"I went to New Jersey and my aunt worked in a five-and-dime in Woodbury. She said for me to take that girl out over there," Hilmar said in reference to Thelma, who worked behind the counter. "Her mother worked with her, too."

He bought a 25-cent tube of toothpaste and handed her a $20 bill, much to her chagrin.

"She was teed off at me because she had just started working there and they didn't trust her with the money, so she had to look for the floor lady," Hilmar said. "Once she cooled off I asked her of she wanted to go out and she said yes."

The rest, as they say, is history. They married in 1951 and had three children, Sharon, Skeet and John, who lives locally.

Thelma worked numerous jobs over the years during and after the kids grew up. The couple moved to Florida in 1979 and lived in the Orlando area until 2000 when they came to Cape Coral.

The anniversary is a little bittersweet. While Hilmar is in assisted living, Thelma, who has dementia, is in the memory ward. She has trouble recognizing her loved ones and has stopped playing the piano, which she did daily.

Lisa Zink, sales and marketing manager at the Crossings at Hancock Creek, said Hilmar came to the facility last year.

"He didn't feel comfortable and Thelma was declining with dementia. They lived in a one-bedroom apartment here, but as she declined, she didn't know who he was," Zink said. "She moved to memory care and has become an escape artist while Hilmar lives in a studio here and visits every day."

Their dog Tino stands guard of Thelma when Hilmar comes to visit, not allowing any strangers to come near. Otherwise, Hilmar takes him out for walks, as he did Friday.

They had planned a trip to Norway several years ago when they saw Thelma, 87, having health issues.

"We had medical bills and sold John's house. He wanted a house on a canal and we said we would buy the house and he said as long as we paid the taxes and the bills, we could live in his house," Hilmar said.

Being married for two-thirds of a century is quite an accomplishment.

Hilmar, 90, said the secret to their success is that they worked as a team, playing off each other's strengths when problems arose.

"We worked together. Every day I would come home and she would have dinner ready, start the laundry, make the bed," said Hilmar, who was a successful self-employed carpenter for decades while living in Maryland. "She took care of the three kids and worked, too."



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