Jurustic Park’s Clyde & Nancy Wynia Celebrate Six Decades of Marriage
Together, Clyde and Nancy Wynia have created one of Marshfield’s favorite attractions, but it is their attraction for each other that they are celebrating later this month.
After three children (Donald, Susan “Wynia” Lang, and Todd), three grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and thousands of metal creations, Clyde and Nancy Wynia are still going strong as they prepare to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
“There’s a lot of laughing going on here,” said Nancy
A Massachusetts native, Nancy was working as a nurse at Salem Hospital when she first laid eyes on Clyde. Born on a farm near Cornell/Holcombe, WI, Clyde was working as a night orderly to put himself through Gordon College.
“I saw him walking around, with his shock of blonde hair,” recalled Nancy.
“Suddenly, there’s this cute little nurse chasing me all over the hospital,” recalled Clyde. “I didn’t know what to do, I just gave in.”
“We emptied bedpans and pushed catheters,” said Nancy
“It was really romantic,” said Clyde.
“If anybody said anything to him, he blushed. He finally asked me out and I actually broke a date I had,” said Nancy. Their first date was going to church, and they were married ten months later.
Married on August 30, 1957, the couple moved to Wisconsin a year later. Clyde had applied to law school at UW-Madison, but despite top grades from a highly respected college, had not been accepted due to an accreditation issue.
With law school then on hold, the couple and new baby, Donald, moved in with Clyde’s parents. Through a stroke of fate, on Labor Day weekend 1958 Clyde helped someone whose car had broken down on the country road near their home. After Clyde shared his law school story, the stranger revealed that he had been a law school roommate of the Dean and that he was presently the president elect of the Wisconsin Bar Association and would be happy to write a letter on Clyde’s behalf.
The encounter turned out to be fortuitous, as Clyde was accepted to UW-Madison and began his law education just days later. Leaving the baby with Clyde’s parents, the couple drove to Madison. There, they slept in their old Rambler station wagon until they could secure housing.
“We didn’t have two nickels to rub together,” said Nancy.
After Clyde graduated, he joined a law firm in Marshfield and after 5 years the couple moved north of town.
Twenty-seven years later, the first creature emerged from the McMillan Marsh (per legend) and Jurustic Park was born. “Twenty-four years ago, I just made a big bird and hung it in the trees,” said Clyde of his first creation. “I never intended to make any more, but I couldn’t stop with just one.”
“I told him, ‘Wonderful, do it!’ because he was having such fun,” said Nancy. “Then some of these things were parked on the deck….and pretty soon people were parking and walking up to our deck.”
After public interest was piqued, they decided to clear some of their land to allow for more creations. Now housing more than 200 unique pieces and providing entertainment for more than 15,000 people from more than thirty countries in the summertime alone, Jurustic Park is a Marshfield treasure.
Not only does the Park serve as entertainment for many, it also has become a fun retirement project for the Wynias and an important part of their relationship.
“It certainly hasn’t hurt it any. I do my thing. She does her thing with the beads. We’re together 24 hours a day and we get along fantastically,” said Clyde. “It’s a dream retirement.”
“We’ve been very blessed,” said Nancy. “We are very blessed with the abilities and the health that we’ve been given.”
“There are so many things to do in life. We have the opportunity to keep very busy,” said Clyde. “It gives us the chance to give back.”
Not only are they busy, they also are philanthropic. Clyde donates many of his creations to local community fundraisers and facilities, and Nancy continues to practice as a parish nurse and at the community’s free clinic. She has also participated annually in South American medical missions and teaches CPR through the American Red Cross.
Though calling themselves “codependent,” the couple also appreciates the importance of pursuing their own interests. Nancy, an avid traveler, enjoys honing her glass-crafting skills in places worldwide, including Ireland and Italy.
“It’s good for us to miss each other,” said Nancy. “It gets her away from me so I guess that helps the marriage,” joked Clyde.
When asked the secret to a long and happy marriage, the couple offered simple advice.
“Communicate, appreciate, our faith and just love each other,” said Nancy. “I think that you have to be pretty considerate of each other. It’s not gonna be smooth sailing the whole time, but you have to get over the potholes. Potholes didn’t come between us, but in life they do happen. You support each other. I’m not gonna be a wet blanket on what he wants to do and I can do anything that I want to do.” “I just do anything she tells me to,” added Clyde.
The couple has a date night each week and holds hands each night as they fall asleep.
“He needs two kisses before he can go to sleep,” said Nancy. “We have that kind of relationship where every day we say ‘I love you’. And we’re appreciative. It’s good to acknowledge the other person.”
“We would be devastated without each other, so we enjoy every day,” said Clyde. “We would go on without the other, but it would be difficult.”
“It’s nice to know that he would do anything for me,” said Nancy. “And I would for him, too.”