Happiness is finding the perfect dance partner. Fortunately, Nina and Cooper Mingledorff found that and so much more when they tied the knot 65 years ago. This dynamic duo has spent more than four decades twisting and twirling their way across the country as officers and dancers for the Tallahassee Twirlers Square Dancing Club. They have participated in numerous festivals and dance competitions everywhere from Kirkwood, Missouri, to English Mountain, Tennessee.

Cooper is a proud military veteran whose service included time in Japan, where he helped with cleanup operations after World War II and made sure a high-ranking colonel got where he was supposed to be. When he returned home, Cooper began forestry school, where he developed a passion and impressive knack for growing trees. After finishing forestry school in 1949, he moved to the Wakulla County community of Newport, where he met Nina at a local church.

After they were married, the couple moved to Tallahassee. Cooper began his first and only career – working at St. Joe Paper Company, where he helped grow pine trees from 1979 to 1991. Meanwhile, Nina began 25 years at Florida State University as a staff assistant.

Now retired, the two enjoy volunteering at the Tallahassee Senior Center concession stand where they keep the popcorn machine popping during antique shows and other special events. Over the last decade, Nina served at the Senior Center’s reception desk and financial office. But it isn’t all “work” for this retired couple – Nina and Cooper make sure to spend time with their children and grandchildren at weekly Friday night dinner gatherings.

So what’s Cooper’s secret to a long and happy marriage? “When she asks you to do something, say ‘Yes, ma’am’!” Similarly, Nina’s words of wisdom for young adults in search of a bright future: “Enjoy life while you can, live every moment to the fullest, and do what makes you happy.”