A strong faith and good friends are what have helped longtime Sonora residents Herman and Donna Eaton stay married for 60 years.
Herman said those are the secrets.
“My faith is very important to me,” he said. “I’m a Christian.”
“And good friends,” he added. “Friends are really important in life. Surrounding yourself with good people.”
Donna and Herman met at Hayward High School when she was a sophomore and he a junior, and what would become a lifelong romance began.
“We started dating in high school, and then Donna, her father was in the service, went to high school in Europe,” Herman said. “We were dating before she left, and we kept in contact by letter.”
Donna attended school in Orléans, France, for a short time before returning to the states and graduating from San Leandro High School.
Herman spent his own time outside the Bay Area from 1954-57 when he served in the Navy during the Korean War.
The couple married on May 18, 1957, at St. Leanders Catholic Church in San Leandro and began their family in the Bay Area.
In 1976, Herman bought Clink Electric, then located on Washington Street in Sonora, from Bud Dorothy, and the family moved to Tuolumne County.
Two of their children, Steve and Darren, and his wife, Kristen, still live in Sonora. Their daughter, Celeste Sallah, lives in Sacramento. They also have three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
While Herman was busy with the business, Donna was busy with her own — Donna’s Creative Nails.
“She had the who’s whos and what nots of Sonora. I’m not kidding,” Herman said. “She had tremendous clientele.”
Donna ran the business out of their East Sonora home and eventually closed up shop to help run the business office at Clink Electric, where Herman continues to spend much of his time.
“I’m one of these guys,” Herman said. “I will never retire. I see too many people that wish they still had something to do. And I do it because it gives me something to do, and I like to meet people. It keeps me interested.”
Herman is also a member of the Sonora Sons in Retirement and The Geezers club.
Donna enjoys gardening and being a wife and grandmother.
Together the two enjoy traveling and most recently took a 15-day cruise from San Francisco to Hawaii to celebrate their long life together.
“It isn’t always easy,” Herman said, “but you have to learn to give and take, and always love.”