Janesville couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary

Together they raised 12 children in Rock County
Frank and Betty Daniels celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary.
Frank and Betty Daniels celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary.(Mary Zimmerman)
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:31 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:27 PM CST
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - A Janesville couple is celebrating a rare milestone, 75 years of marriage. Frank and Betty Daniels, both 93-years-old, are set to hit the monumental anniversary on Saturday, November 27th.

“I’m very proud. Not many people do that,” said Frank.

They met at 15-years-old, when Frank was hired to detassel corn on Betty’s family farm near Janesville. “There way this cute boy, I liked his eyes,” said Betty about their first interaction.

The two lost touch for some time, until Frank decided to write to Betty while serving in the United States Navy during WWII. “I got a letter from him and I guess the other girls quit writing,” joked Betty.

When he returned home to Milton, they rekindled their teenage fling and got married at 18-years-old. Betty said, “we thought we were grown up, but oh what we’ve learned.” Frank echoed, “we were wrong” with a laugh.

Together they had 12 children, whom they raised in Rock County. Today they have 24 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren. “We’re proud of our family, very proud of our family today,” said Betty.

Frank and Betty Daniels and their 12 children.
Frank and Betty Daniels and their 12 children.(Mary Zimmerman)

Before he met Betty, Frank’s first love was music. He started playing the trombone at 11-years-old and eventually turned his passion into his profession. “I was music supervisor in Rock County, working for Rock County Public Schools in the courthouse,” explained Frank.

Frank helped establish the first instrumental music program for students in Rock County.

“At that time there was something like 130 one-room schools yet in Rock County and they had never had instrumental music in the rural schools. They never had had any kind of organized music with a teacher. The parents were so happy to have this instrumental music for their kids. They drove 30, 40 miles. They’d have rehearsals in the courthouse in Janesville,” explained Betty.

Frank also formed and directed a 45-piece band in Rock County and was a part of the Janesville Municipal Band, Janesville Senior Band and Monroe Area School Bands, among others.

Square dancing became Frank and Betty’s favorite outlet and social outing. “It only cost us a buck a night to go for the dance,” said Betty. “I could afford that,” laughed Frank.

Frank and Betty Daniels celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary with their family.
Frank and Betty Daniels celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary with their family.(Mary Zimmerman)

Betty became passionate about advocating for the special needs community, after the birth of their 11th child, Patty. Patty was born with developmental disabilities.

“When Patty was in grade school there was no free public education for these kids. Most of them were housed at one of the centers or in nursing homes, or people were keeping them at home. We wanted better than that for Patty,” explained Betty.

Patty joined the local chapter of the NARC, now called The Arc, a national organization that advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She helped establish public and free educational programs for special needs children in Rock County and eventually became president of her local chapter.

She even cut the ribbon on Janesville’s first group-home for those with disabilities, where Patty would go on to live to this day. Betty said, “the hardest days of my life was to let her go,” but that she knew Patty deserved to have independence like her other adult children.

Betty and Frank said their “secret” to making it this far in their marriage, has been to tackle every challenge as a team. “I think that’s a big clue is doing things together. We make decisions together and it’s kept us close,” said Betty.

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