Upson couple grateful to find love second time around

 

February 14, 2020

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

RELAXING IN their home in Upson, Wis., last week are Clyde and Sheila Sukanen. Clyde's essay was the winner in the Globe's annual Valentine story competition. The couple, who married in 2013, will receive flowers and gift certificates from local businesses.

By P.J. GLISSON

news@yourdailyglobe.com

UPSON, Wis. - Years ago, after her first husband had passed away in 2012, Sheila Sukanen said she eventually began praying about love.

She said her words included the following plea: "God, if you think I should meet someone, it's up to you."

Clyde Sukanen also had lost his wife in 2010, and at around the time that Sheila was praying, a salesman told him, "Within a month, you're going to find a woman."

Shortly afterward, Clyde and Sheila both happened to attend a school basketball game in Ashland.

"God must have intervened," said Clyde as the two of them explained their story last week while sitting at their kitchen table in Upson, Wis.

Sheila said she remembers that she was reluctant to go to the game because it was cold, but family ties convinced her to attend.

Afterward, Clyde charmed his way to an introduction and later left a message on her phone.

Sheila said she debated whether to return the call, but she finally did so. "We talked steady for six hours," said Clyde. "No breaks."

They are both 100% Finnish, and they both grew up on farms - in Sheila's case, next door to their current home. They also both love the outdoors.

Before hanging up, they agreed to meet for dinner on the next Saturday night.

"We started dating and eventually married on Dec. 14th of 2013," said Clyde. "We have been happily married for six years."

Clyde's story of their union won this year's Daily Globe Valentine competition. As a result, today, they will be received flowers and gift certificates from local businesses.

"After the first date, we were both thinking marriage right away," said Sheila.

"When she found out I liked to make firewood, she wasn't going to let me go," kidded Clyde, who said Sheila used to enter the woods herself to cut trees and then chop and store the wood.

Sheila admitted with a sly smile that her ears "perked up" when Clyde first spoke in terms of making wood.

Clyde said Sheila also is talented at carpentry. "She thought she was going to be alone the rest of her life," he said. "Until this guy came along," added Sheila.

She said she learned some of her construction skills from her late husband, Gary Lutz, to whom she was married for 39 years.

Clyde's wife, Becky, and Sheila's husband both lost their battles to cancer.

After her husband passed, Sheila said she continued to learn more about the building trade. "I just asked a lot of questions from other people and read a lot," she said, saying she even subscribed to handyman magazines.

Clyde said that Sheila is also great at hunting and fishing. "She's such a good shot they call her Annie Oakley," he said of fellow hunters.

On one occasion, while they were fishing, he said she quickly reeled in her five-pound limit while he and other male companions came up short.

Now, Clyde said, they stay busy remodeling homes together and traveling on adventures to other states such as Montana and Colorado.

"We went to Alaska that first year we were married," he said. "We were going to stay for two weeks, and we ended up staying for 10."

They also have a garden on their property, as well as a larger one on land elsewhere in Wisconsin, where Clyde used to live. Picking apples last year resulted in them canning nearly 150 quarts of apple sauce. They've also processed other items such as berries and homemade syrup.


Clyde, whose career was in educational administration, said Sheila. She also taught herself how to paint after retiring as a registered nurse. Her award-winning pictures of wildlife hang on the walls throughout their home.

"To me, I've been blessed," said Clyde of Sheila. "I'm learning about her all the time."

As the two lovebirds chat, real birds of various species fly to and from a generous feeder directly outside of the kitchen window. Sheila murmurs that their flying friends help to warm the winter.

"Life is what you make it," concluded Clyde, who added, "We make it exciting."

 
 
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