Roy and Janet Fredrickson’s love story started back in 1950. The couple met at church, and both still remember their first date to the Pasadena Playhouse. This Valentine’s Day, the Fredricksons will be one of four couples renewing their vows at Byron Park, a Kisco senior living community in Walnut Creek. The vow renewal will happen on Valentine's Day, followed by a reception and caking cutting for all the couples.
For the Fredricksons, Valentine’s Day always brings back memories of their engagement. Roy popped the question on Valentine’s Day in 1952. Janet, now 88, was in nursing school at the time, and when she got home to her dorm, her roommate immediately asked, “Where’s the ring?” She was spot on, but Janet chose to stay coy. She wore the ring on a chain until she and Roy could announce their engagement to family on their own time.
“Roy was ready to get married and proposed at dinner on Valentine’s Day in San Marino. It had really been an unspoken question between the two of us for some time. We just knew we wanted to be married,” said Janet.
They tied the knot on November 11, 1952, with more than 400 people in attendance. The ceremony and reception took place at the Pasadena Covenant, a Swedish Church Roy attended growing up.
Following the fairy tale wedding, Janet came down with rheumatic fever. As a newlywed, she spent ten months in the hospital. With Janet sick, Roy moved in with his in-laws. Despite their first big test as a married couple, he continued to impress his mother-in-law, who told Janet, “He can’t be perfect, but I can’t find anything wrong with him.”
After Janet recovered and graduated from nursing school, the couple went on to have a daughter and a son. Roy’s career as a CPA eventually led them to the Bay Area in 1970. Over the years, the Oakland A’s became a strong family tradition. When they were new to the area, Roy took their son to a game, and the two got the chance to see the team locker rooms. That was all it took for his son to become a lifelong fan. They remained season ticket holders until this year.
The Fredericksons now have six grandchildren and one great-grandchild who they recently got to meet. Many of their fondest memories are of family vacations they all took together. For their 50th anniversary, the entire family went to Disney World. After that, they went on two cruises at their grandchildren’s recommendation and request.
Asked what they love about each other after 67 years, Janet simply responded, “We like the whole package.” And when it comes to marriage advice, the couple shares the same philosophy: don’t sweat the small stuff. They both also work hard to take an interest in each other’s interests, whether that’s the opera or baseball.
“When it comes to marriage, you can’t worry too much, you really have to talk about what’s bothering you. You can’t let it fester,” said Roy.
Roy and Janet have called Bryon Park home since 2015. At 95, Roy remains very active. You can often find him in one of Byron Park’s exercise classes or on a long walk at a nearby path. Janet says he doesn’t look, nor does he act 95! She’s found the community has been a great fit to keep them social, and they’ve gotten to know a lot of people, including some fellow couples.
“Love is very much alive at Byron Park. We are lucky to witness the love, true friendship and commitment between Janet and Roy. We’re honored they’ll be renewing their vows with many of their friends and Bryon Park associates in attendance,” said Jennifer Pastora, executive director of Byron Park. “In addition to stories like the Fredericksons’ we’ve also gotten to watch new love stories start at Bryon Park. We’ve hosted at least two weddings for our residents. It’s really wonderful to be here on Valentine’s Day!”