2017-12-07 / Life in Leelanau

Kilchermans celebrate 65 years together


PHYLLIS (BYE) and John Kilcherman are shown on their wedding day, and 65 years later. PHYLLIS (BYE) and John Kilcherman are shown on their wedding day, and 65 years later. Airman First Class John Kilcherman found the love of his life at a teenage dance in Traverse City. Their 65-year marriage began four years later.

“He tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to dance,” recalled John’s wife, Phyllis. “He looked pretty good.”

Phyllis Bye and John Kilcherman were married on Dec. 20, 1952, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Traverse City during a snowstorm, although Phyllis recalls the church as looking cozy and warm. The altar was decorated with Christmas trees and poinsettias were placed throughout.

Pastor Edward Nelson presided with parents of the bride, Fritz and Helen Bye, and parents of the groom, Jennie and Paul Kilcherman, looking on.

John was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, while Phyllis was employed as a nurse at Little Traverse Hospital in Petoskey.

Eventually the couple and their three children would locate on the family farm, located just north of Northport. The Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm is known for its many varieties of antique apple trees and an extensive bottle collection that’s open for the public.

The Kilchermans have three children, John and Irene Kilcherman, Maureen and Roger Mawby, and Krinne and Daniel Drow; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

The family celebrated the anniversary at the home of Maureen and Roger on Thanksgiving Day.

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