Couple with 32 grandchildren share the secret to a happy family

Couple With 32 Grandchildren Share The Secret To A Happy Family

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Think your family get-togethers during the holidays are hectic? Think again – one West Michigan couple likely has you beat.

Since their marriage in May of 1948, Don and Shirley Keena have since built up a family of over 100 members between eleven of their own and additional grand, great-grand and great-great-grandchildren.

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As you can imagine, it hasn't always been the easiest task, but the couple isn't complaining.

"I wanted a big family," said Don, "and we got one. At times it's been trying, but it's always turned out good."

Don and Shirley both worked full time while raising their eleven, and say there's really no big secret to successful child rearing. Love them, love each other, and the rest will follow.

"Oh it's kind of fun," said Shirley. "We've got the best kids in the world and we've just enjoyed them."

"It's been a joy, believe me," Don added. "Our kids are our friends now. All our friends have died off - we're the only ones left. Now we have our new friends and we have a good time with them."

Number 100 was born only a few months ago, and the family is already preparing to add #101 to the mix. He or she is expected in May, the same month Don and Shirley will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary.

As much as the rest of the family has learned from Don and Shirley, the patriarch and patriarch say they've learned just as much in return. Not just about raising a good family, but about maintaining a successful marriage as well.

"You help each other out when you can," said Don, "and the last 20 years I made up my mind that I was not going to go to bed without telling her I loved her."

The two never tire of hearing people's reactions to their unusual but remarkable number of family members.

"Sometimes you wonder if they believe you or not, because that is quite a few," said Don. You're kind of surprised when they tell you you're going to have another one but, there's room. Bring them in."

After all this time, Don and Shirley know that kids grow up, and spouses get older. But what the two believe will never get old are the lessons learned through all the ups and downs.

"Big families are good," said Don. "They all get along and do a lot of good things together. And that's what makes life worth living, really."

Related: Did you know these celebs are grandparents?

Famous people, celebs who are grandparents
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Couple with 32 grandchildren share the secret to a happy family

Pierce Brosnan has been a grandparent since 1998.

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Whoopi Goldberg is a grandma extraordinaire, as her first granddaughter was born when Whoopi was only 34. 

(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Carmen Marc Valvo)

Former quarterback Brett Favre became a grandfather while he was still active in the NFL. 

(Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)

Jim Carrey has been doting on his grandson since 2010. 

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne's son, Jack, has given them two granddaughters. 

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Donny Osmond has six grandchildren, with his first being born in 2005.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Nicolas Cage became a grandfather in 2014. 

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Tony Danza has been a grandfather for about 10 years now. 

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Cee Lo Green became a grandfather at age 35 when his step-daughter had a baby boy. 

(Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Kiefer Sutherland has been a grandfather since 2005. 

(Photo by Luca Teuchmann/WireImage)

Charlie Sheen welcomed his first granddaughter in 2013. 

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Harrison Ford has been a grandfather since 1993.

(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)


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