Two couples, friends for more than four decades, celebrated a special occasion together on Sunday — their 65th wedding anniversaries.
Stan Kirk and wife Janet Kirk, who have lived in Paso Robles for nearly 60 years, first met their good friends Zeke and Florence Mulder of Shafter when their sons attended a boarding academy together in Monterey.
A lifelong friendship flourished, leading to family vacations and close bonds formed between their children over the years.
Stan Kirk, a family practice physician for more than 50 years, is an Army veteran of World War II. He was the first chief of medical staff at Twin Cities Community Hospital. Janet Kirk also worked in the medical field. Together they raised four sons.
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Zeke Mulder, known as Papa Z, and wife Florence have an almond ranch in Shafter. Zeke, also a veteran, was one of the first combat soldiers to enter Tokyo after the war. He served as a Navy Corpsman, attached to the Marine aviation group at the Yontan Airbase in Okinawa. Florence Mulder worked as an elementary school teacher for nearly 50 years.
Their son, Steve Mulder, held the anniversary at he and his wife Victoria’s home in Templeton for about 100 close family and friends.
An anesthesiologist at Twin Cities hospital, Steve Mulder worked alongside Stan Kirk until he retired.
“Both of them have been such important role models and mentors,” Steve Mulder said. “Stan and his wife have been like a second mom and dad. There really was a very warm vibe to the whole celebration — it's feel-good events like this that make the world go round.”