Clocking in to work in the morning seldom conjures up notions of romance. But that is the very place where Hannelore and Harri Jakob first met each other’s gaze in the early 1950s. Both were working in the Stiegelmeyer factory in Cologne. Today, they have been married for 61 years and are as happy as the day they first met.
The Jakobs’ wonderful love story belongs to an earlier chapter in the Stiegelmeyer saga which is still unfolding today. Our factory in Cologne was founded in 1929 and closed its doors in the early 1970s in favour of other company locations. This story was brought back to us only recently in our thrilling company chronicle with the title, ‘Well-bedded’. Author Oliver Driesen’s research uncovered the fact, for example, that the 25th anniversary of the factory’s founding was celebrated on Carnival Monday in the year 1954.
“This fantastic celebration is also one that my grandparents can remember”, said Melanie Spitaleri, the granddaughter of Hannelore and Harri Jakob. After the two fell in love clocking into work, they kept in touch and went on dates to the cinema – “and look at all that has happened since”, says Hannelore Jakob 61 years later. They have grown into a family with 2 daughters and sons-in-law, 4 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. The youngest addition to the family, Finn, was born on 13 June, and the great-grandparents are delighted to welcome the new baby.
What is the secret to such a long happy marriage? “Love, trust and talking to each other a lot”, replies Hannelore Jakob. “My grandparents are an absolute dream couple”, affirms Melanie Spitaleri.
Stiegelmeyer played a large part in the life of the couple. Hannelore Jakob remained a clerk in the company until 1957 and then looked after the family. Harri Jakob worked for the company as an in-house electrician until 1967, and then went to work for Ford. Today, the couple are 84 and 81 years old. They have remained true all these years not just to their love, but also to their home town of Cologne.