50-Plus Years of Love, Marriage and the Exchange

When Marianne and Gene Eberle joined the Exchange at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., more than 50 years ago, they didn’t know each other, and Marianne could barely speak, read and write English.

Now, the couple, who met shortly after Marianne began working in the Exchange cafeteria in 1968 where Gene regularly ate breakfast or lunch, are married and still working at the Exchange. They were married in October 1969.

Marianne, 71, who works in the food court’s warehouse, was recognized recently by managers for her 50 years with the Exchange. Gene, 73, is working on his 53rd year with the Exchange.

The Exchange hired Marianne on Jan. 4, 1968, as a cafeteria cashier after she emigrated from Germany.

“I was single and was looking for a means to support myself,” she said. “I was given a chance to go to work at the Exchange, and as time went by, I mastered the communication obstacles and began to learn all positions in the cafeteria.”

Chance to stay busy

Marianne moved up through the ranks to become a food operations clerk and learned about the accounting side of the business. She became a food activity foreman and then a mobile sales supervisor until her retirement in 2002 after 34 years. She took her bosses up on an offer to return as an intermittent food service worker and perform warehouse and clerical work for the food court.

“This was my chance to stay busy—and I’m still here 16 years later,” Marianne said. “The same goes for my husband.”

We remained with AAFES for so many years because we feel AAFES has been very good to us.
Marianne Eberle


Gene started his Exchange career in 1962 washing dishes in the Soldiers service clubs, which included either cafeterias or snack bars. Through the years, he held various restaurant positions and later transferred to the main store’s sporting good counter. He also worked in the Military Clothing store. His retirement in 1999 didn’t sit well, and he returned to work for the mobile food units. He now keeps the food court dining area spotless.

‘Never had to go without a paycheck’

Retire? No way, Marianne vowed.

“He and I enjoy our jobs very much,” she said. “We remained with AAFES for so many years because we feel AAFES has been very good to us. There was always a job available to us and we never had to go without a paycheck. This is what we appreciate.”

Gene agreed.

“I stayed with the Exchange so long because I had a job that was always there for me,” he said. “Retirement is just not for me. I enjoy being around customers and co-workers, plus the troops depend on me.”



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