Randall and Nancy Gruber, both Elders at Rolling Fields Elder Care, a Heritage skilled nursing community in Conneautville, recently celebrated 60 years of marriage together.
The Gruber’s love story is one full of twists and turns from the very beginning. Nancy took Randall to her high school senior prom. Already engaged to another, Randall decided Nancy was his “one” and according to him, decided to just “not show up for his wedding to the other gal.” The beginning of their marriage had a few challenges from the start. Randall reminisced that he couldn’t ask the preacher from Nancy’s church to marry them, because he had already asked “that fella to marry him to another lady.” Luckily, a pastor from the “church up the road” agreed to marry them, and they were welcomed into the Atlantic Presbyterian church. Not long after that discussion, Nancy and Randall were wed in July of that year. Atlantic Presbyterian became an important part of their lives after they were married, and both Nancy and Randall remained heavily involved in their church family. When that church tragically burnt down, the elders, including with the Gruber’s, decided they still wanted a church in Atlantic even though the Presbytery had said no. Church elders pledged to cover any costs from their own finances, and Randall joined in to start the new church, now known as the Atlantic Community Church. Nancy also served in a vital position as the original treasurer for the new church.
Randall worked for many years at Greenville Tubes and Steel Car, and was known to his coworkers as a skilled millwright. Nancy was a stay at home mother for most of her life, but worked as the plant manager at Sperry Farms for 20 years until her retirement.
With their two daughters, Joanne and Kris, Randall and Nancy were blessed with a family life that could never be considered dull. One of their favorite pastimes was water skiing on Conneaut Lake, where Joanne was taught to ski when she was 5. Nancy jokes that Randall loved to try out new things to “ski” on, including Nancy’s antique wooden ironing board, a four by eight sheet of plywood he cut in a circle, a tractor tire, and an old wooden beer keg. They joked that “the beer keg didn’t work out so well, it’s still probably at the bottom of the lake!” They also enjoyed exploring on the five snowmobiles they owned, and spending time at the family “hunting camp” in Tionesta, which was often a source of amusement, since Randall never owned a gun and did not hunt or fish. When not adventuring with the family, Nancy enjoyed sewing and crocheting, making everything from clothing and quilts to the doilies she made daily. They now have six grandchildren, and say they are “very hopeful” they will be blessed with great-grandchildren.
Randall came to Rolling Fields Elder Care Community in June 2019, and Nancy followed soon after in January 2020 when she could no longer drive and said she did want to be apart from Randall. Together again, they enjoy frequent visits on Elm Street, often sitting with each other and sharing a bowl of ice cream, which was always a part of their special times. The staff at Rolling Fields often speaks of how special the Gruber’s are, and how much they still love each other after 60 years. When asked how to have a successful marriage like theirs, Nancy says that the secret is “simply loving each other.”
The Rolling Fields staff is blessed to be a part of the Gruber’s voyage in life, and is honored to help tell their story.
Heritage Ministries, the parent company of Rolling Fields, was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations across the United States. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, lessons, and a therapeutic riding program. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit www.heritage1886.org.