LAVALE — Walter and Irene Growden celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary Sept. 7, 2011, traveling through the south. The couple was married Sept. 7, 1946.
Walter’s parents were Vernon H. and Helen “Hite” Growden. Irene’s parents were C. Frank and Jennie “Rawlings” Kegg.
They have two children, a son, Gerald W. and wife Cathy “Welch” Growden, and a daughter, DeEtta, and husband, Larry McGreevy.
The Growdens also have six grandchildren, Jenna Cunningham, Cambra and Jacob Growden and Stephanie Eau Claire, Tara Keller and Patrick McGreevy; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Walter served in World War II as a corpsman, 1943-1946, and on a troop transport and aircraft carrier and Marine duty in Balboa, Panama.
Walter was a construction carpenter apprentice under the GI Bill, with Henry Dressman Construction Company.
Walter and Irene founded Growden Construction Company in 1954, building many homes in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Together they developed ground and housing areas in Pine Ridge Road, Pa., and Growdenvale, Bedford Road, Growden Terrace and other Haystack Mountain areas.
The Growdens were one of the developers of Carpendale, W.Va., formerly Millerdale, and one of the partners founding Gateway Enterprises, which bought and sold commercial property. Throughout these years, Walter and Irene established Gateway Mobil Home Sales, Cumberland, Gateway Mobile Home Park and Lot Sales, Millerdale, and Sleeman Lumber Company, Frostburg.
Growden Construction Company built, remodeled and/or put major additions on 13 churchs in Maryland and West Virginia, including the classroom addition on LaVale Methodist Church, their membership church. Other major projects were the Cumberland Nursing Home, which is now Golden Living, LaVale Sanitary Building first stage, and designed, constructed, managed and then sold the Moon-Glo Skating Rink in 1961.
Walter and Irene turned over the construction company to their son Gerald Growden in 1974. Walter then became a property appraiser and construction inspector for local lenders, the FHA and VA. He was elected bank director of FS Savings and Loan and held that position until its sale in 1989.
Walter played baseball for Centerville, Penn Mar and Chaneysville, Bedford County Leagues. He managed the Red Sox Dapper Dan League for seven years. He was granted an honorary high school diploma by the governor of Pennsylvania in 2006. Walter was president of the Ali Ghan Shrine Club, is a Jester and a member of Mountain Side Marines and other clubs. He and Ralph Cover established the Home Builders Association of Western Maryland in 1960.
After her involvement with Growden Construction, Irene applied her interest to volunteering at nursing homes, serving in her church, playing golf and homemaking. She has been a Maplehurst Club Champion various years and she has had two holes-in-one. In her younger years Irene spent nurses training at York Hospital, York, Pa.