HUDSON — When he was a young child, David Spohn said he thought every married couple shared a birthday.
Today, as a Hudson High School math teacher, Spohn chuckles at this memory, but notes he had a good reason for forming this philosophy. His parents, Barbara and Bruce Spohn, who live in Hudson, were born within 30 minutes of each other on Feb. 19, 1940, in Akron and will soon celebrate their 80th birthday with a large family gathering. They will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary next year.
"There was a stunning moment in time to realize that no, not everybody’s mom and dad has the same birthday," David quipped.
David’s brother Doug also recalled that as a child growing up in Coventry Township he didn’t think it was unusual for his parents to have the same birthday.
Barbara Richards and Bruce Spohn met while growing up in Portage Lakes. Their families knew one another and they both graduated from Coventry High School. Barbara said Portage Lakes was "a small town — you kind of knew everybody."
Barbara said seventh grade was when "we fell in love. At least I did, anyway." She noted she learned she and Bruce had the same birthday some time in seventh or eighth grade.
"We enjoyed [having the same birthday]," said Barbara.
"They were meant to be [together]," added Doug. "My mom always said she fell in love with my dad in seventh grade, fell in love with his blue eyes."
The Spohns married in 1961 at Lakeview Christian Church and raised four sons in Coventry Township. Their oldest son, Bruce, was born on Feb. 20, said Barbara, who also noted that one of their grandsons, Dennis Jr., was born in Feb. 17.
Bruce worked in the pipe and fitting business starting at Hardware and Supply in Akron, and spent most of his career as a sales representative. Barbara worked at Goodrich in the payroll department and became a homemaker when her children were born. She later worked at Acme in the bakery and then in the pharmacy until her retirement.
David and Doug, both Hudson residents, said they are looking forward to celebrating their parents’ milestone birthday with their brothers Bruce and Dennis, as well as their parents’ 11 grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. The get-together will happen at the home of Doug, a steel worker and his wife, Julie, a teacher.
Having the family together is significant because Barbara and Bruce Spohn have had active roles as grandparents.
David, who teaches math at Hudson High School, said he was the first member of the family to move to Hudson in 1990. Doug and Julie later followed suit and once they started having children, David said they were going to send the youngsters to day care, but his mother had another idea.
"My mother announced that she was retiring," said David. "She was going to retire and she was moving to Hudson and it was our job to find them a place."
David laughed as he recalled his mother told her children she wanted to move to Hudson because "nobody except for people with the last name ‘Spohn’ are going to raise children with the last name, ‘Spohn.’"
Doug added his parents "didn’t like their grandchildren being in day care."
Barbara and Bruce moved to Hudson about two decades ago.
"I retired and the next Monday, I started babysitting," said Barbara with a laugh. "That went on for quite a few years."
Barbara and Bruce went to Doug and Julie’s home each day for many years to care for their four grandchildren. The babysitting started when the oldest child was a few months old and concluded two years ago once all four grandchildren were old enough to be home alone.
"They pretty much lived there except for sleeping," said Doug. As a result, he noted his children are "really close" to their grandparents.
Julie added her in-laws have attended many of their grandchildren’s athletic and art events during the past two decades.
"They’re very, very loving parents and grandparents," said Julie.
The Spohns’ children said they appreciate everything their parents have done for them.
Doug said his dad is a "tough guy" who "loves sports," and enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow up. His mom, Doug said, "has always been a sweetie … my kids love hugging Grandma."
David noted family has always come first for his parents.
"Every bit of what they do and who they are and what they’re about is their family," said David "…The older I get I really appreciate the commitment and the sacrifice that they have made for their children, and then now for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
Barbara added "it’s been an interesting life and I wouldn’t change it a bit."
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.