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Walthers ‘take to space’ for 50th wedding anniversary

MADISON – Family is the most important part of Dan and Dannie Walther’s lives. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

On the Walthers’ 25th anniversary, their four children asked what they wanted for their 50th anniversary. “Finally, we came up with ‘dinner in space,'” Dannie said.

During four days in August, nine adults and 11 grandchildren in the Walther family experienced ‘family camp’ at U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

For the four-day Family Space Camp, they added activities from Space Academy and Robotics Camp. Their program included rocket building and launch, session with astronaut Don Thomas, missions to Space Station and Mars, two movies, robotics lab, 1/6-gravity chair, multi-axis trainer, “Walther Family Feud” and anniversary dinner in Davidson Center for Space Exploration.

“The three-hour anniversary dinner was a wonderful way to end the week,” Dannie said.

Their children are Danielle and Dana, both of Atlanta; Daniel of Redmond, Wash.; and Dane of Madison.

One daughter and the chef collaborated long-distance for a three-tier, midnight-blue cake with constellations. One son’s photo book documented their first date through retirement. Another son designed a gold commemorative coin with a puzzle. Another daughter gathered ‘memory notes’ from everyone; grandchildren read the memories to Dan and Dannie.

They met at Shades Valley High School in Birmingham. Dan was in concert choir; Dannie was accompanist. Their similar names were an icebreaker. At Georgia Tech, Dan proposed but Dannie was preoccupied; he had to repeat his question.

Their wedding was officiated at Shades Mountain Baptist with two ministers: Dr. Carl Giers, church pastor and Dean of Religion at Samford University, and Dr. Gilbert Guffin, Dannie’s relative.

A Birmingham native, Dannie graduated from University of Southern California with a master’s degree in music. Dan grew up all over the United States.

After marrying, they lived in Beaumont, Texas, Augusta, Ga., Birmingham, Atlanta, Huntsville and Madison since 1992. Dannie has taught private lessons for organ and piano. Dan, a software engineer, worked at Mobil Oil, Southern Company and Teledyne Brown Engineering.

Gardening is their hobby. They are 20-plus-year members of Huntsville Botanical Garden; their name is inscribed on the visitor center’s memorial plaque.

They have participated with Von Braun Astronomical Society, SciQuest and rocket center. For many years, Dannie was organist at Trinity Baptist Church; Dan sings in the choir. They also enjoy travelling and entertaining grandchildren.

What’s their ‘secret to success’ in marriage? “Demonstrate your love every day. Hold hands every chance you get,” Dannie said.

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