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      Dan and Cherie: Forever in love

      Dan and Cherie on their wedding day in 1959

      This Valentine's Day, we asked for viewers to submit their personal love stories. Amazing stories were shared with us, but we chose one of special commitment. Dan and Cherie Trudell were married for 53 years, and left a big family behind.

      In our world of short term things, their love was special. It was a love that could last a lifetime. Dan and Cherie met when they were in the first grade at Saint Mary School in Jackson, Michigan.

      By the time they were seniors in high school, they knew their love for each other could last forever. The pair was married within two years of graduating on October 3, 1959. Two lives, so perfectly intertwined and compatible, they could only feel "at home" with each other.

      For the Trudells', everyday was Valentine's Day. Family members can feel the love they felt for each other, and see it through words on a page. These words of affection are forever preserved within the love notes from an 18-year-old Cherie written almost 60 years ago.

      They settled on a Michigan farm to live a simple life together and their growing family. Simple, but warm and inviting. Their home and their hearts were always open to the community. After completing his education at Eastern Michigan and Michigan State Universities Dan served in the U.S. Army, as a deputy warden, and a professor at Jackson and Lansing Community Colleges.

      Cherie touched lives as a professional clown and taught special education for the emotionally impaired. Poems and letters survive with memories that tell the story of great love in the 53 year marriage. The Trudells had six children and eleven grandchildren who grew up knowing strong family values.

      Last August Cherie peacefully passed away days before her 74th birthday. Four months later, Dan left this earth to join her. He died when his physical body failed him, but some say he died of a broken heart. Even laying in a hospital bed Dan's last word was "home."

      He was finally headed there: home to Cherie and home at last.