[NPI Float="left"]/Media/0/jpg/2010/2/9a79a6ba-c95e-c833-7a137d0d407094d3.jpg[/NPI] “Be friends,” Jackie Feederle, married for more than half a century, said with certainty. “You need to be friends and always talk things over.”
Jackie and Ron Feederle of Ramona have been married for 55 years, but, for both, it seems like only yesterday. They agree communication and friendship are key. “That and you don’t bring your work home with you,” said Ron.
When asked how they met, Jackie giggled.
“We met in the fourth grade at St. Rose of Lima Parish School in Maywood,” said Ron. “You have a group that you associate with throughout school. We were friends for many years. When we graduated the eighth grade, I went to the boys school and she went to the girls school, but we still saw each other every day on the way to school, in church and so on. We kept in touch.”
Ron joined the Navy at 19 and was off to the Korean War.
“Jackie was working at MGM Studios, answering fan mail,” he said. “I told the guys on the ship I knew a girl who knew the stars. Of course they didn’t believe me, but I wrote to Jackie and she sent me some autographed pictures I passed around to the guys. By the time I left the ship, (the rumor was) I was ‘the guy who could get you a date with a movie star!’”
When Ron returned from Korea after the war, his grandfather died, so he was granted emergency leave. He invited Jackie to the wake.
“It was a dark night and a long drive to the house,” said Jackie. “It was Dec, 8, 1953, part way to the house. All of a sudden he just pulled the car over. I thought it was strange, because there wasn’t anything wrong with the car. We were on the way to his folks’ house when he just pulled the car over and proposed—right there between the golf course and the cemetery.”
“I had already told my brother I was going to propose, so I had to pick a spot,” explained Feederle. “It was dark and isolated, so I thought this was the opportune spot so we could sit for a minute. I didn’t plan to be next to the cemetery. That was just how it worked out!”
The couple had a fairly large wedding in August of 1954 and settled in West Covina County near Los Angeles. After a couple more years in the Navy, Feederle got out and began working (for the next 31 years) as a sheriff in Los Angeles County.
“I always kept busy with the three kids and focused on their care without dwelling on his work as a sheriff, but, when he came home, he has always been there for me, helping with the children, changing diapers, giving baths and even helping with the housework,” said Jackie.
“I always enjoyed coming home—the cooking, the stuff to pick up and helping with the kids—it was such a transition,” said Ron.
He never brought his work home—”and we talked,” said Jackie.
The Feederles have three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
“All but one lives in California,” said Jackie. “Thank God, we are still here to enjoy them.”
The couple rarely do anything special on Valentine’s Day. “My birthday is on the 18th, so it is kind of a combined event,” said Jackie, adding, “Every day is special” and not to be taken for granted. “We usually exchange cards and have a special dinner at home.”
“You gotta have communication and be able to talk to your buddy,” said Ron. “It doesn’t matter if it is financial or kids, or anything between you two. It does not have to be a crisis. You have to talk to each other a lot. Just shoot the breeze. It was important for us. If you can’t talk out your problems, who are you going to go to?”
[NPI Float="left"]/Media/0/jpg/2010/2/9a7bff20-ca9a-3ebc-df89d8bd3adc45cc.jpg[/NPI] Married for 53 years, Jim and Madelyn Holmquist’s recipe for a successful marriage is service. “It is all about him,” said Jim, pointing a finger skyward.
Lives dedicated to service work have molded the couple with humble hearts and words of thanksgiving. “It’s all him,” repeated Holmquist, smiling. “It is the Lord, it isn’t us.”
Ramona residents for more than 20 years, the Holmquists have helped many people reaching out for help. From building homes and churches to providing food to the hungry and repairing lives, they’ve “been there” for likely thousands of people.
Bob Denny of In His Steps ministry in Ramona, said the Holmquists have hearts for mentoring others and are committed to whatever they set their minds to do.
“They are the most wonderful, dedicated people I have ever met,” said Denny. “They are an incredible blessing to have around, faithful to their beliefs and to each other.”
Denny is a co-founder of the “Open Door” project that has been providing meals to the hungry in Ramona for nearly 15 years. Every Monday night, the Ramona Grange at 215 Seventh St. opens its doors at 6 p.m. and Ramona churches take turns providing meals to anyone who comes in—no questions asked. Madelyn and Jim are there every Monday, ready to serve.
“Madelyn has been here from the second week or so that we began Open Door,” said Denny. “She is the first one to get here and the last one to leave.”
She helps when and where needed. “She is the one who got the other churches involved and helped it to grow what it is today.”
She never sits down, dashing from kitchen to table as hungry people come for food, friendship and kind support.
Self-employed—Madelyn as a massage therapist and Jim as a construction supervisor—the Holmquists have built a life for more than just themselves. Jim has overseen the building of two churches in Ramona—Grace Community and Mountain View—and homes in and around Ramona, including the rebuilding the In His Steps women’s home that burned in the Witch fire in 2007.
The Holmquists have four hands for service, and the work this couple does is out of pure love and devotion to the service of others, said Denny.
Small and demure, Madelyn overflows with purpose. The love in Jim’s eyes is obvious as he catches glimpses of her coming and going.
“She is the greatest!” Jim said, beaming. “All of our kids love Jesus and our grandkids, too. That’s really something. She’s a doll!”
Continuing, Jim said, “We’ve worked with the Lord all along. I’ve helped build more than 20 years. Our whole life is wrapped up in the Lord. We met in church. I was singing in a choir and she kept ‘eyeing’ me. Our first date was at a sweetheart banquet. We were juniors at Grossmont High School at the time.”
“He gave me his high school ring,” said Madelyn. “I wore it around my neck for about six months. He told me he loved me, but I didn’t answer him back. Then he kept asking me, ‘Do love me? Do you love me?’ for a long time. I wouldn’t say that I loved him until I was sure!”
Laughing, she said, “Once I told him I loved him, then he kept asking me, ‘Will you marry me? Will you marry me?’ But I didn’t say yes right away. I wanted to be sure!”
The couple laughed. , Madelyn “finally said ‘yes’,” but neither remembers when the engagement was official.
“We got married Aug, 11, 1956, two and a half years after we first met,” said Madelyn.
Three children and 53 years later, the couple maintain it is a devout faith in Jesus that has provided the cohesive strength to their long marriage.
“If it wasn’t for the Lord, we wouldn’t have made it,” Madelyn said matter-of-factly. “Everybody has ups and downs. The Lord has kept us strong. He kept us together. When the trials come, if we didn’t have the Lord, we probably wouldn’t have made it.”
A modest couple, the Holmquists insist the work they do isn’t “special,” but necessary and normal. With the purest of intentions, Madelyn, according to Open Door co-founder Art Blanck, has been a huge driving force in picking up the reins of the program and keeping it going.
“Madelyn is coordinating the churches and the food,” he said. “She is on the board of directors for In His Steps recovery home. Jim is on the board of directors at the Ramona Food and Clothes Closet.”
The Holmquists give all the credit to God.
“He put the love in our hearts for this,” said Jim. “That’s it. Simple. It’s all God.”