May 27, 2022 – West Bend, WI – It’s been a whirlwind week for Joe Zadra, 99, and his wife Edna, 100, as the couple reenact their wedding day to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary .
Zadra’s son, Nolan, helped organize the event. “We will recreate their vows in front of a judge on the steps of the Capitol in Madison,” he said. “Actually their birthday was Tuesday, May 24, but it worked out in terms of timing. After that, they’ll go across the street to The park hotel for the lunch.”
Nolan said that aside from the couple’s longevity, their story is far from a fairy tale, but it is full of moxie and paints a perfect picture of the late 1940s, which included Joe returning from Second World War, his high school sweetheart waiting for him, then Edna threw.
“When Joe came back after the war, Edna moved from Chicago to Madison,” Nolan said. “But Joe said he was focused on nurturing, not love.”
Well, Edna had an answer to that. “She told him there were 23,000 GIs on campus and he’d better go. We found out on his 100th birthday,” Nolan said.
“Then she came on a Saturday and said, ‘We are getting married today.’ The couple eloped and were married by a judge,” Nolan said.
Edna Zadra kept a scrapbook and the kids found an itinerary from their wedding day, including what they had for “dinner.” Written in cursive with a red pen, Edna detailed her photo taken at 11:30 a.m. and her dinner at 12 p.m. at the Park Hotel. The menu started with Manhattans and shrimp cocktail, appetizers, southern fried chicken, potatoes and vegetables, coffee, wedding cake and ice cream and drinks afterwards. dinner.
“On the way…around 2pm” was the script as the couple headed for their honeymoon at Cave of the Mounds.
The Zadra family asks the Park Hotel if they can recreate the menu from May 24, 1947.
Joe Zadra, will soon be 100 years old; he is one of the few remaining World War II veterans in the West Bend/Washington County area.
Joe is quick to mention. “Edna is a bit older than me, her birthday is in February.”
“He never lets me forget him,” Edna said.
Joe Zadra served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge He was an intelligence officer in the 19th Tank Battalion which was sent to join the 6th Armored Division. Zadra’s unit raced to protect the road to Bastogne, Belgium, on the southern flank of the battle.
Zadra survived the Battle of the Bulge but caught pneumonia and was taken to an aid station on December 30, 1946. He recovered in a hospital for a few weeks and returned to his unit. Joe Zadra, who grew up in Schofield, WI, spent decades working for Gehl Co.
When the West Bend, Wisconsin Memorial Day Parade Taking off on Monday May 30, 2022, Joe Zadra will be the Grand Marshal, accompanied by his wife, Edna.
The parade will follow the same route as previous years beginning in front of Badger Middle School, 727 S. Sixth Avenue, heading north on Main Street, left on Hickory to Sixth Avenue, left on 6th Avenue to Chestnut and ending at the historic Washington County Courthouse, 320 S. Fifth Avenue.
The memorial service will begin immediately after the parade outside the Old Washington County Courthouse at Veterans Memorial Plaza on Fifth Avenue.