Couple Married For 61 Years Comes Forward With Truth About Family Making National Headlines
Marilyn Caylor 1/7/2019
If you think you or someone you know comes from a large family, wait until you meet the Zanger's. Leo and his wife, Ruth, had a whopping 12 kiddos, but they didn't stop their parenting duties after their last baby reached adulthood. With that many children under their belt, this Quincy, Illinois family tree was bound grow new branches as each of them married and had kids of their own.
By the time he was 79, Leo celebrated the birth of his 100th grandchild, a sweet little guy named Jaxton Leo Zanger. But, that's not the only milestone both he and his wife were proud to have reached. After having a progeny of Zanger's dotting the landscape, this "happily ever after" couple also rang in 61 years of marriage together. As astonishing as that is, it's even more amazing to think that they can actually keep everyone's names and birthdays straight!
Although hardly anyone uses an old-fashioned phone book anymore, if you were to flip to the back and look at all the Z's, this family would fill up an entire page of their own. That's because Leo and Ruth have a total of 12 kids, 53 grandchildren, 48 grandchildren, and one great-great grandbaby.
With so many little ones running around, even Jaxton's parents, Austin and Ashleigh, weren't aware that he would be the 100th born. It wasn't until the unofficial "family historian," Donna Zanger Lane, informed them of the new that they got excited about the special honor! There was even a fun little competition going on among two of the grandkids to see who would "win" a race that not many families can hope to even enter.
It's a good thing that 39-year-old Donna, who is the oldest grandchild, agreed to take the role as family historian, because how else could such a large brood keep track of all the important stuff, like everyone's names, phone numbers, birthdays, and anniversaries?
Most of the Zanger's still live in or around Quincy, where the family members not only play together, but some of them also work together! The lead patriarch runs a real estate agency that employs one daughter, four sons, and two daughters-in-law.
As far as family gatherings go, there is no such thing as small. Everyone still celebrates Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but since none of them own a mansion, they have to rent out a church hall for family dinners. Donna told TODAY:
"When we get together, it's big. It's really big. There are a lot of people - a lot of kids - but that's what it's all about. We always have a really good time."
As more of the grandchildren start to get married and are wanting to start a family of their own, there's no immediate end in sight to how many Zanger's are going to take over the town. But, Leo and Ruth said they would welcome each and everyone of them as if they were their first. For him, birth is a miracle and "to have a new one is just a wonderful thing."
One thing's for sure, this family's number of Facebook friends are actually all real!