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Return to the Tower: Couple Renews Vows 35 Years Later

By Erica Demarest | October 8, 2013 1:02pm
 On their 35th wedding anniversary, chimney sweeps David and Dee Stoll renewed their vows at the Willis Tower Skydeck, 233 S. Wacker Drive.
David and Dee Stoll
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DOWNTOWN — The key to a successful marriage?

"Don't run away from it," said Dee Stoll, 76, who on Tuesday celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary by renewing her vows at the Willis Tower Skydeck, 233 S. Wacker Drive.

Stoll and her husband, David — who are master chimney sweeps by trade — met in 1976. She was a product designer, and he was in marketing. But when David had a heart attack, the pair left the "stressful" corporate world.

"We gave it all up to be chimney sweeps," David, 85, said. The couple married at the Sears Tower in 1978, and worked as chimney sweeps for more than a decade. They later toured the United States promoting fire safety.

"It was totally different than anything I had done in my life," David said.

On Tuesday, the Stolls donned traditional chimney sweep garb as they renewed vows with family and friends at the Skydeck Ledge, which juts out from the skyscraper's 103rd floor.

Dee said the couple hit some hard times over the years, but learned to "ride the waves."

"Things go up and down in your life. Some are better, some are worse. When you hit the low spots, what you do is just hold on and ride out the wave because it will be better."

Plus, she said with a laugh, "We celebrate everything. When we don't have wrinkles, we have one hell of a time."

As the ceremony closed, David Stoll turned to his guests — and several tourists who were clamoring for photos — and invited everyone to join the couple for lunch at a nearby Corner Bakery Cafe.

"I'm buying," he said.

His wife playfully slapped his arm.

"That's too many chimneys to sweep."