Couple to repeat vows in celebration of 60 years

NEIGHBORS

January 20, 2002|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

REBECCA MESEKE SAID she does not know exactly what her two sons, Edward and Richard, have planned for her and her husband William's 60th wedding anniversary. But she knows one thing she'll be doing on Jan. 27: She and her husband will repeat their vows at Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church.

The former Rebecca Linthicum and William Meseke were married on Jan. 31, 1942, in the bride's home on Greenwood Avenue in Linthicum. So exchanging her vows in church will be very special to her.

"This is something I have always wanted to do," she said.

The couple, known to everyone as Becky and Bill, were born and raised a few miles apart, she in Linthicum and he in Ferndale. When they met as young adults and began courting, Becky said, Bill could not afford the fare to ride the Baltimore & Annapolis train that ran through both communities. He had to walk to visit her.

Their wedding took place not long after the United States entered World War II, and within months Bill was in the military. He started out as an airplane mechanic and later attended pilot training school. He was sent to Italy with the 15th Army Air Force and flew B24 Liberator bombers on 50 missions.. While there, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, Bill returned to Linthicum, opening a construction business. For 32 years, he built homes in the Baltimore area, including 21 in Linthicum.

He chose the names of two streets where some of those houses sat.

"When he went to Annapolis to do paperwork, they told him he had to pick street names. He didn't want to wait, so he put our two son's names together and came up with Edric Drive for one. For another, he used my mother's maiden name, Springer, and called it Springer Court," Becky said.

The streets are off Dogwood Road in Linthicum Heights.

Both Mesekes have been active members of the community.

"I try to do a lot of volunteer work," Becky said.

For 31 years, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the Red Cross bloodmobile. Her husband accompanied her for 12 of them.

She has taught Sunday school and been treasurer at Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church and has been a den mother for a Scout troop.

For 23 years, she has been planning monthly bus trips and some overnight trips for Chapter 2244 of the AARP.

"This is a full-time job. Becky does a beautiful job. She is very, very thorough with everything she does," said Mary Foster, a member and past president of the chapter. Becky has also been membership chairwoman and treasurer of the chapter.

Bill has done his share of volunteering, too. For many years, he was active with Boy Scout Troop 882. He and his wife belong to Eastern Star, a religious organization in which they also held office.

Although Bill has had to cut back since suffering a stroke in 1997, he and Becky continue to be a part of the Notables entertainment group in their AARP chapter.

When the couple married, an airplane was an important part of Bill's life. A few years ago, Becky read in the paper that a private foundation that owned a B-24 Liberator was going to display it in the area. Knowing how her husband felt about the plane, she took him to see it in Westminster.

As he admired it, he said how much he would love to get into the cockpit once more. Someone overheard him, tapped him on the shoulder and asked him whether he would like to go for a ride.

"He was thrilled to death," Becky said. "When they heard he flew this kind of plane, they wanted to shake his hand, they asked for his autograph and they thanked him profusely for what he had done there."

In return for the flight, she donated $350 to the foundation - money well spent, she said, to see how happy her husband was to fly once again in the plane he loved.

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