Barbara and Frederick Brown, longtime residents of Los Altos and Mountain View, recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.
The couple summed up their long marriage this way: “Married in war – still in love during the COVID-19 war.”
Toward the end of World War II on June 23, 1945, Ensign Frederick J. Brown, United States Navy, married Barbara M. Badertscher of the San Francisco Ballet. The year before while home on leave, Frederick’s mother, Naomi Brown, asked him to deliver a package the post office had incorrectly delivered to another Naomi Brown, who happened to be Barbara’s ballet instructor. When Frederick delivered the package, he complimented the other Mrs. Brown on her daughter’s framed photo on the piano. Mrs. Brown later said Frederick seemed like a nice young gentleman, so she asked him if he’d like to meet her favorite ballet student.
During their courtship, Frederick completed his naval flight training in the Bay Area, while Barbara performed in the San Francisco Ballet, including in the premiere of “The Nutcracker.” After their marriage, Frederick deployed to the Pacific theater and Barbara was employed by Universal Pictures in Hollywood, where she was part of the golden age of movie musicals. Frederick stayed in naval aviation for a career that spanned from biplanes to jets. Barbara occasionally taught ballet to the young girls on base while providing a warm and comfortable home.
After retiring from naval aviation, Frederick worked for Lockheed in Sunnyvale as an engineer and later as a scientist. He followed that with a third career teaching engineering at San Jose State University. His classes were always filled, with a waiting list of students.
Barbara continued her college studies and earned a bachelor’s degree in French literature with highest honors.
The Browns still enjoy gardening, and every evening as they sit on the couch together to watch television, they hold hands and contemplate their future together.