Helping a Friend Brings a Lifetime of Love

  by Steve Whitaker The relationship between Wesley Homes Lea Hill residents Riley and Jean Kuehn began when they attended classes at the University of Washington. In order to earn money at the time, Riley worked as a janitor cleaning business offices and homes. His roommate told him of an upcoming university dance. Riley’s roommate had a date but no car. His roommate asked if he could borrow Riley’s car. Riley replied, “Sure, if you get me a date, too.” As fate would have it, Riley’s date was Jean. Riley and Jean have been together ever since. When Riley’s parents first heard that he intended to marry Jean, the news was not taken well. His parents were in Virginia and hadn’t met Jean. Riley came from a military family and his father partly wanted Riley to find a bride from a military family. Riley admits most of the resistance probably arose because his parents never had the chance to meet Jean before the couple decided to make the relationship permanent. At that time, men were coming home from the war and wanted to go back to school or get a good job and settle down. Riley was no different. He married Jean on September 11, 1948, at St. Leo’s in Tacoma. Soon after the two were married, Riley’s parents quickly warmed up to Jean. Riley and Jean have been married for 65 years. To get to that milestone, Riley said, “You have to have patience, give and take – compromise, share everything and have respect for your mate. Respect is the most important.” He continued, “Togetherness is critical and builds over time.” The Kuehn’s have practiced togetherness since they first met. Riley was a member of a local automobile club, and Jean admitted she’d tag along. They made some long-lasting friends through the automobile club. Riley and Jean also enjoyed skiing with friends or just as a couple. In order to show how much the couple love and appreciate each other, neither will leave the house without giving the other a kiss and an “I love you.” As a matter of fact, Jean revealed that they both say “I love you” countless times a day. Riley said Jean will always be his best friend and wants her to know that she is not taken for granted.

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