Ed and Janet Kasper met on a blind date. They have now been married for 58 years, and are celebrating their 80th birthdays this year.
The pair, who share two children and six grandchildren, have another thing in common: Their photo won the Fort Worth Report’s November photo contest, which asked readers to submit pictures of something they are grateful for. The Kaspers received a $50 gift card for Tricky Fish in southwest Fort Worth.
The winning photo was titled “Thankful for husband Ed Kasper.”
There are many reasons why Janet is thankful for her husband Ed, but her first reason for gratitude is his loving nature.
“I’m also thankful he works out, and he has inspired me to work out. I play doubles tennis now,” Janet said. “Many of our friends have a lot of health problems and many of my friends have lost their husbands. It’s important to stay healthy.”
Ed never complains about what Janet cooks, she said, and takes care of yard work to complement her work inside the house.
“I also am more of the emotional one during times of stress, and Ed is much more steady. He has a very strong faith,” Janet said.
Ed is thankful for the example that Janet sets for the rest of their family and how strong her faith is.
“At this point in our life, I’m thankful she is so loving with our whole family. She is a great example of being a Christian,” Ed said. “She is the one who keeps track of our activities and makes sure we have time for our family.”
December photo contest
Our reader photo contests continue this month; we’re asking you to show us your holiday spirit! These photos can be your favorite outdoor decorations (hello 100-foot Santa!) or your favorite Christmas tree or best ugly Christmas sweater. To submit your photos, go here.
Don’t forget to come back and vote for your favorite photo by clicking the like button. The winner of this month’s photo contest will receive a $50 gift card for Riscky’s Barbecue. The entry deadline is Dec. 31.
About 60 years ago, Janet was working at a summer camp outside the city of Giddings, about an hour east of Austin. Ed and a friend were passing through the area, and Ed caught a glimpse of Janet working at the camp’s concession stand.
“I told my buddy, ‘I’ve got to know who she is,’” Ed said. But he would have to wait.
Later that year, Ed returned to college at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was on a baseball scholarship. By a twist of fate, he received a newsletter from Concordia College, another university in Austin.
In the middle of the newsletter was a photo of the new class of Concordia cheerleaders, and Janet was front and center.
“I said, ‘There she is!’” Ed said. “There are no coincidences with God.”
Ed was able to use his connections and get Janet’s phone number.
“He called me on the phone, but we had one phone for our dormitory hallway. Back then, we had no cell phones,” Janet said. “I had to get some references from him before I would accept a date, but I remember I loved his voice.”
After Ed passed Janet’s tests with flying colors, they went on their first date, and the rest is history.
Going to two different colleges was easy because they were within walking distance of one another. Janet would walk to the UT baseball stadium to watch Ed’s games.
By his sophomore year, Ed was starting on the team. During a tight rivalry game against Texas A&M, Ed remembers he went up to bat with runners on first and third in the ninth inning with two outs. Texas was losing 9-2. To Ed and Janet’s relief, he hit a single and sent the third-base runner home.
Texas went on to beat Texas A&M 10-9 in the 10th inning.
“After the game, Janet and I rode in my old Studebaker car around the tower on UT’s campus,” Ed said. “She then told me that when I came up to bat, when I got that hit, she threw up in her popcorn bucket while sitting next to my mother.”
Janet laughed in response and said, “It was the best game I had ever seen!”
“That’s when I knew she was the one for me,” Ed said.
After college, Ed and Janet remained in a long-distance relationship while she switched to complete her degree in elementary education at Concordia University in Chicago. They wrote letters and spoke on the phone once a week.
In 1964, Ed and Janet tied the knot right outside of Giddings – the same town where Ed first spotted her. They moved to Fort Worth shortly after they were married and have been here ever since.
Ed owns and runs Kasper & Associates: Merger & Acquisition firm here in Fort Worth. After getting her degree in elementary education, Janet taught kindergarten and first grade. Now she helps out as needed at Kasper & Associates.
The Kaspers were blessed with two children, one boy and one girl. Now, they are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.
For their 50th wedding anniversary, their kids organized a big party to celebrate. Janet kept the original wedding topper from their wedding in 1964 that donned their 50th anniversary cake.
When asked about the secret to a happy and healthy marriage, both agreed on one word: commitment.
“Our love stayed the same and has grown with the peaks and valleys that come with life,” Janet said. “I’m very thankful for Ed.”
Izzy Acheson is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.