By Pam Robinson
“OK. – You’re right. – I don’t care.” According to Jim Tepool, these six words are the secret to succeeding in 50 years of marriage. His wife, Hazel, says she needs only three words, “I love you,” to explain how their marriage has lasted. “You’re right,” Jim says.
On Saturday, February 16, 2013, Poseyville’s Jim and Hazel Tepool celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a luncheon at their lifelong parish, St. Francis Xavier. From 100 to 150 family members and friends joined this fun-loving farm couple on their special day. Although happy to visit with everyone present, Jim and Hazel are most grateful their bridesmaids and groomsmen could all enjoy the occasion. Like anyone over the age of 50, the couple has reached that stage of life when each day and every person are recognized as gifts from God.
Indeed, Jim and Hazel Tepool have spent their lives cheering up and caring for the familiar and the unfamiliar—all God’s children. Each of them has changed the world for the better.
On May 19, 2011, Jim was awarded the Mother Teresa award by the Catholic Diocese of Southwestern Indiana for his volunteer work in his local food pantry, Angel Food Ministries and the Good Samaritan project, which aids travelers down on their luck.
The diocese highlights Jim’s character in a statement about his selection for the award: “He is always willing to help someone in need, and if he is unable to help that person, he finds someone who can. He is a kind and giving man who serves his church, family and community well.”
Previously, the diocese had honored Jim for stewardship by awarding him a place in the prestigious Bruté Society. He’s past president, current treasurer, and a long-standing member of his parish’s St. Vincent DePaul Society, providing help to the poor.
Jim has also improved the lives of those around him through his employment. An Army veteran, he served his country two years and three months, stationed primarily in Germany. He was active during the Berlin crisis and the Cuban blockade. Today, he is a loyal member of the American Legion in Poseyville and volunteers for the VFW in Wadesville when that post requests assistance.
As a civilian, he has worked his farm while he sold MoorMan’s feed for 27 years. Retirement wasn’t in his nature, so he became the maintenance and cemetery manager for his St. Francis Xavier parish. Already, he’s served there for 15 years.
For her part, Hazel Tepool has been dedicated to her farm life. She’s been the chief cook, seamstress and gardener for her husband and their four sons— Anthony, Christopher, Matthew and Mark—all while working at Deaconess Hospital. These skills have made her well-known as a volunteer in the “kitchen band” at Southwestern Indiana Regional Council on Aging, or SWIRCA, and St. Francis Xavier.
Although her favorite sport is swimming, the athletic Hazel has been a natural as a girls’ softball and basketball coach for Catholic Youth Organization, or CYO, sports as well. She taught her teams the meaning of true sportsmanship with her positive team philosophy. Anyone who practiced, played. Her softball players had only one loss in five years. Her basketball players never lost a game.
Nothing suits her better than to put a smile on someone’s face. So in her retirement, she clowns around a lot—literally—in a costume she made herself. Since graduating from River City Clown School in 2000, she’s entertained children and adults alike as “SPOTTER” (yes, in all caps!), the name a tribute to her job as a weather spotter. At Deaconess Hospital, for example, SPOTTER has drawn out laughs from medical personnel and their patients with her puppet, Dr. Moody, aka Dr. Feel Better.
Most recently, she’s enjoyed dressing as the Cat in the Hat to entertain North Posey kindergarteners and first graders. She was an equally big hit reading “The Night before Christmas” at Poseyville’s Carnegie Library during last year’s holiday.
As individuals and as a couple, Jim and Hazel Tepool will charm and warm the hearts of anyone privileged to talk with them. In all seriousness, they will say, “Going to church together has kept us together.” At St. Francis Xavier, they both serve as Eucharistic ministers, and Hazel is a lector, reading Scripture. Certainly, Jim and Hazel Tepool have let nothing come between them and God.
At the same time, they’ve let nothing come between the two of them. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we forget about the downs,” Hazel confides.
They say they won’t go to bed mad, and they enjoy a number of activities together. They play cards—Clabber, Sequence, Skip Bo—with family and friends. They love to fish together, and they take a picture of the two of them every time they bring in the catch of the day. They love NASCAR and have standing tickets at Michigan. They’ve traveled to almost every state in the continental U.S.
In fact, to cap their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, Jim and Hazel are now planning a trip to Hawaii—just as soon as the bridge is built. They share a hearty laugh along with friends who realize they’ve just been had. As Jim and Hazel look at each other in triumph for a well-timed joke, their sparkling eyes tell the whole story. Theirs is a match made in heaven.
By Pam Robinson
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