1947 Wedding Remembered

by | Sep 20, 2013 | History, Michigan

My parents’ 1947 Wedding was not on the cover of Life Magazine like Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding but it was reported in the Chelsea Standard, “Elizabeth Jean Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Brown of Farmington, and L.Dean Sodt, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Sodt of Chelsea were married at 10 o’clock Saturday morning, Sept. 20, in Our Lady of Sorrows Church at Farmington.” I personally think my parents were far more beautiful but I am a bit biased.

And I had no idea Elizabeth’s middle name was “Jean.” Wow! I seriously had no idea.

Leaving the Wedding

Cute Couple

Betty and LDean on the Farm

My mother always said she met my father at a wedding. They were both in the wedding party. I wish I knew which wedding. After Betty graduated from University Detroit Mercy School of Nursing she worked at Foote Hospital in Jackson, Michigan and I’m sure L. Dean (my father) was making frequent trips to Jackson. I just recently learned that my Uncle Milner paid Betty’s nursing school tuition. I found that rather sweet!

Betty Sodt (the bride) on Wash Day

Betty Sodt in 1947.

Written on the back of the photo, in my Grandmother Ruth’s handwriting,”Our Bride on washday.” She was a cutie.

Louis Dean Sodt

Louis Dean Sodt (aka L.Dean Sodt or Louie Sodt) around 1948 or 49.

There is a funny story about my father’s name. We have two birth certificates for him. The first one lists his name as “No Name” Sodt dated very close to his birth date and the other birth certificate is dated a year later and lists his name as Louis Dean Sodt. I heard my father’s name story many times while I was growing up. Eldean or Aldean was a popular name at the time and my grandmother wanted it for his name but my grandfather didn’t care for it. They finally arrived at Louis Dean but she quickly shortened it to L. Dean. Ruth… I guess she got her way at the end of the day.

I just need to say it, I think my father was extremely handsome. Good grief!

The Wedding Day

Wedding Book - The Day

This page is from my parents’ wedding journal. It details their schedule for the day but in clock format (kinda odd but cute). Betty was up by 8 and pictures were taken before going to Our Lady of Sorrows.

Pictures before going to the Church

Betty Brown with LuLu Brown Wedding 1947

Betty and LuLu Brown primping before the wedding. Lulu made Betty’s dress. It was of “white slipper satin with a yoke of illusion trimmed with lace which matched the tiara she wore with her fingertip veil.” How do I know this? The Chelsea Standard said so and I am the proud owner of said dress and I wore the same dress in my wedding. It was more of a cream color when I wore it. Many of Betty’s granddaughters wore the necklace she wore in her wedding. Betty’s looks so excited.

Did you notice the crucifix on the wall? It hangs on the Betty’s wall today.

Betty Brown with Parents bridal party Wedding 1947

Betty with her mother and father standing on their porch in Farmington, Michigan. I’m making a guess, but I think that is “Little Mary” at Albert’s right hand. “Little Mary” was LuLu’s sister from Ohio. (Yes there was a Big Mary.) She was married to Edgar Baughman and gave Betty and L. Dean a tablecloth as a gift. And that is the beautiful Jeanne Fisher, Betty’s Maid of Honor. She wore a pink gown and wore pink gladiolus and chrysanthemums in her hair. The bouquet was matching. I have not a clue to who the guy is in the back row. Maybe one of Betty’s brothers? I love the Boston Terrier in the lower right hand corner of the picture. I’m pretty sure he belonged to my mother.

Here Comes the Bride

Betty and Albert Brown walking down the aisle Wedding 1947

Wedding Mass

LDean and Betty Praying Wedding 1947

Giggle… L.Dean is flipping through the prayer booklet. Betty is clearly praying. Must be she didn’t need to follow along in the booklet.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Dean Sodt

Betty and L.Dean Sodt Just married

Wedding Receiving Line

Sodt Wedding Party leaving the Church

I love this picture! Doug Kennedy (the best man) is flirting with Jeanne Fisher.

The Wedding Party

Sodt - Brown Wedding Party

(Left to right) Marilyn Schairer, Jeanne Fisher, Betty Sodt, L.Dean Sodt, Doug Kennedy, Howard Sodt and William Brown.

Marilyn (a cousin of L.Dean’s) was the soloist and wore a yellow gown with yellow flowers in her hair. You already have the skinny on Marilyn’s dress. She was Betty’s best friend. Doug Kennedy was my father’s best friend and lived just a few miles from my parent’s farm their entire lives. Doug married Irene and their children were all good friends with Betty and L.Dean’s children. Howard Sodt married Dona Albright and their children (my cousins) were a lively part of our family’s history. William Brown (Bill) was Betty’s twin brother. He married Mary and their children (my cousins) were also a prominent part of our family’s life.

Sodt Wedding Group Pictures Sarrows

I’m pretty sure the kids are Peter, Karen, and Doug Spike. I think Aunt Carol is holding Doug.

Wedding Guests

Can you match the guests to names on the list? Leave a comment if you see any familiar faces!

Wedding Book - Guests page 1

Wedding Book - Guests page 2\

Wedding Book - Guests page 3

Botsford Inn

Bottsford Inn

A wedding breakfast was given at the Botsford Inn in Farmington, Michigan for members of the bridal party.

Wedding Breakfast

And the other 75 guests were served a luncheon at Albert and Lulu Brown’s home. More pictures were taken at the Botsford Inn.

L.Dean and Betty with Parents

(left to right: Reuben Sodt, Ruth Sodt, L.Dean Sodt, LuLu Brown and Albert Brown. Front and center, Betty Sodt.)

Why does Reuben have crutches? In June 1933 or 34, Rueben and Howard (L.Dean’s brother and best man) were mowing hay and a bad thunderstorm suddenly came through with high winds and tornadoes. Rueben tied up the team and he and Howard took shelter under a hickory tree. (This is why you don’t stand under a tree in a rainstorm!) The tree came down and Reuben’s legs were trapped. Howard unharnessed a horse and rode some distance to the house. Keep in mind it was the early 1930s and a storm and had just come through. The ground was wet from heavy rains. A horse and wagon were used to transport Reuben to the road and an ambulance took him to St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor. The doctors didn’t think he’d survive so the legs were not set. It is family folklore that the nuns didn’t stop the family from bringing beer into the hospital for him. I’m thinking it is the beer is what saved him or perhaps his German genes.

Cutting the Cake

Cutting the Cake

They joined their other guests for a few more hours before they departed for their honeymoon.


Wedding Book - Honeymoon

Left Detroit at 5 pm on Sept 20 and arrived in Ohio at 6:30 pm the same evening. Left the following morning at about 10:30 am and started East. Second evening we stayed in Pittsburg, Penn, leaving the next morning and traveled on the Turnpike. We passed through a small strip of West Va. and Delware and then in to New Jersey. We arrived at Esther and Voiden’s late the third evening. The next day we went to Alantic City, New Jersey, we spent the day there and on the Boardwalk. We stayed at Esther and Voiden’s again that night and the next day we went to P Penn. The following day we left which was Thurs and we stayed at a Calvin in Wheeling West Va. Friday we left rather early and traveled across Ohio to arrive at Mary and Edgar’s in the evening. At noon on Saturday we left for home.

There are many more great pictures in the photo gallery.


  1. Avery looks like your dad !

  2. SO much here to enjoy: What an adorable, happy couple! Not only is your mom Elizabeth Jean, but my dad was William Dean. As twins that made them Betty Jean and Billy Dean – I’m not kidding, they were called that when Lulu wanted to get serious. Your dad once told me he courted your mom by waiting outside the nursing college for her in his pick-up when they were done for the week. There was nowhere to park, so he would circle the block. He always offered her a ride but she always walked back with the other nursing students. One day she finally accepted. He liked seeing her in her cape and cap! He might have been “pulling my leg” about circling in the pick-up, but its still a cute story.
    I love the clock wedding day calendar and the road trip-visiting-a few -relatives honeymoon. Not so many hotels and motels then. My parents drove Route 66 to California on their honeymoon a few years earlier and told harrowing tales. Last – my dad was always a feminist in the way he advocated for my mom, me and my sister, and his signature in the guest book is another example “Mrs and Mr William Brown” in his lovely script. Thanks so much for posting!

    • Thank you Janice for sharing this wonderful story! It made me cry.

  3. Comment from Dianne Sodt-Davitt: Great job.Mom never officially had a middle name. She always said since Lulu did not expect 2, she just gsve them each one name. Haha. I always thought they met Doug Kennedy’s wedding… Great job Bren

  4. Comment from Beth Corwin (Betty’s GrandDaughter) I didn’t find out until I was like 29 that Grandma’s middle name was Jean. You would think if you had a granddaughter with the EXACT same name as you (my middle name is Jean too after my mom’s mom) you would let her know. She must have really hated her middle name!

    • Betty always told me she didn’t have a middle name, I found out about 20 years ago it was Jean, so was my mothers. So now there are 2 Elizabeth Jeans.

      • And Beth is the best person to have been blessed with that beautiful name! Betty always told me she didn’t have a middle name. I wonder why she told Dianne and I that she didn’t have a middle name and yet there are many that who know differently. Betty! The woman of mystery.

  5. Comment from Stephanie (Betty’s Granddaughter) I love that picture of grandpa! That damn necklace, it makes me cry every time

  6. Comments from my sister Kris: her middle name is Jean and she is named after Betty. Kris also said that Betty would share stories from when she was in nursing school. One story included the large cape. She and the other nursing students would hide beer under their large capes from the nuns so they could take it to their dorm rooms.

  7. Comment from Allen Kuhl — Brenda – I remember your father so well. He used to come up to the farm several times a week. Have coffee with Great Grandma Feldkamp. What a great man. Your mom was always so nice for letting us fish in the pond. I remember bailing hay for your father and brother. Was always hard work, at the Sodt farm because the bails were so heavy. Always a plus to jump in the pond after stacking hay..priceless moments. Now a days kids don’t even know how to bail hay.

  8. I loved this! I do not know you or your family, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your piece. I was shocked by the story about Reuben! Thank you for sharing. Your parents were beautiful!

    • Thank you Laura. I too think they were beautiful. And I’m glad that you enjoyed our story. Stop by often.


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