Their life together started on a high, stayed there

By Katherine Wartell

It was on top of a Ferris wheel almost 67 years ago in Manhattan that Harold “Sprug” Burgman proposed to Margery Burgman.

The Ferris wheel had broken down while the pair were on it as one would expect in a romantic comedy. Sprug, as he is known to friends and family, decided it was a perfect opportunity, even though, he said, he “never dreamed of getting married.”

When he proposed, the pair had only been going together for six weeks and Sprug didn’t own a car or have a dime to his name. Neither of their parents could afford a wedding, so the couple drove to a preacher’s house and married without an audience on Aug. 15, 1946.

They don’t quite remember how it all started, except that Margery, a Hutchinson native, used to work in a business called Hide and Wool in Manhattan where Sprug, a Randolph native and butcher, would bring hides to sell. (Hide and Wool was a predecessor to today’s Steel & Pipe Supply Co.)

Margery was in Manhattan because a friend invited her to stay while the friend’s husband was out of town.

During the war, Margery was a Rosie the Riveter, working in airplane factories in California and Wichita. Sprug served as an Army cook from December 1942 to February 1946.

After they were married, they moved to Randolph, and lived there until 1958, when construction of the dam forced them out. “(The dam) ruined the prettiest spot in Kansas,” Sprug said.

The Burgmans have lived in Leonardville ever since. “The county has sure changed since we came over here,” Sprug said, adding that they used to know everyone in town. It was a habit for Sprug to buy ice in Manhattan and then deliver it to rural residences throughout the county and on up to Blue Rapids. “That’s why he thinks he knows everyone in the county,” Margery said.

For years, the Burgmans ran a locker plant until shutting it down in the mid 70s. Sprug also worked for Kansas State University for almost 20 years cutting meat. He supplied the food for the Kramer and Derby dining centers and food storage, retiring in August 1989. Margery worked for a hardware store until 1996.

The Burgmans had their first of three daughters, Kathern, in 1949, followed by Wanda in 1954 and Linda in 1957. Now they have nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. “We have a heck of a lot of relatives,” Sprug said. Both come from large families—Sprug is the oldest of 10, while Margery had four other siblings, though only one sister is still living. With all of their relatives, the couple frequently travels to visit family.

Though Margery used to work in an airplane factory, the only time the couple has been up in the air was in a helicopter. Instead, the couple prefers driving, even to go somewhere as far as Alaska.

While still working, the Burgmans would use their summers to travel, taking a Suburban with a bed in the back.

Margery said the couple has been to Alaska three times and visited nearly every state west of Illinois.

Recently, the couple traveled to Iowa to surprise her sister for her 90th birthday. On July 2, they celebrated Sprug’s 92nd birthday.

Nowadays, Margery likes to do craftwork while Sprug watches sports. “The only thing we have on the television is sports,” Margery said. Margery has also made a habit of donating blood, she said, having now donated six gallons.

Together, the pair likes to put together elaborate jigsaw puzzles, which they frame and hang up in their home or give away to family and friends.

Having lived together for almost 67 years, the couple has developed an easy routine with the other. “We got along together good,” Margery said, of their marriage. “We never did throw anything at anybody.”

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