Sharon and Dennis Van Houdt of Richland celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary May 4.
The couple met in Spokane, while Dennis was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base and Sharon was in nurse's training at Deaconess Hospital Nursing School. After she graduated, they were married at Fairchild.
In 1963, the Air Force moved them to Madrid, Spain, where they lived for three years and then to Omaha, Neb., where they spent the remainder of Dennis' Air Force career, except for a year he spent in Vietnam. Following retirement from the Air Force, they moved to Richland in 1977.
Dennis worked for the Sperry Univac Corporation and Sharon continued to be a homemaker while their children were in school. Dennis transferred to Boeing Computer Service in Richland in 1985 as a principal software engineer and accepted early retirement in 1995. He formed a small software business and fully retired in 2002.
Since his retirement, Dennis keeps busy with volunteer work with the Richland Police Department volunteers, as the senior district coordinator covering the Eastern half of Washington state for the Tax-Aide foundation, providing free tax preparation service, and screening prisoners for the Department of Corrections.
After the children were in high school, Sharon worked as the printer for the Central United Protestant Church. She also joined the Tri-City Tappers and performs with the group. In 2007 Sharon became interested in learning tai chi, and after a couple of years assumed the teaching responsibilities along with a co-instructor when the original teacher moved.
Both Sharon and Dennis enjoy dancing and socializing with the dance group.
Dennis and Sharon will continue celebrating their accomplishments throughout the year with trips, including the family as well as those taken alone.
They have three children, John (Kathy) Van Houdt of Spokane; Aggie Van Houdt of Kirkland; and Kate Van Houdt of Vashon. They have two grandchildren.