David and Hannelore Julya (Krause) Franco celebrated their 50th anniversary with a party including 50 friends and family members.
David served in the Army, from 1959-60, stationed in Berlin, Germany. He worked at the Berlin Observer newspaper and also had two radio shows on the Armed Forces Radio Network. After taking an overseas discharge, he remained in Berlin, a city he fell in love with, and went into the nightclub business. Along with two partners, he successfully opened and operated five night spots throughout the city. When Hannelore, who goes by the name Julya, walked into one of his clubs with friends, he was smitten. It was "love at first sight," and he decided that he wanted her to be his wife if she would have him. They have been together ever since their first meeting. On their first date, they danced the night away at a Berlin club named the Black Bottom. They dated for a year before getting married on Sept. 25, 1953, at St. Elizabeth's Church in Berlin. After their marriage, Julya helped with the business and David credits her charm, wit and beauty for doubling the income.
When their first child was born, they decided to give up the night life, so they sold the business and moved to San Francisco to start a new life. They have lived in Sonoma County since 1975.
They started a series of business ventures, including an elder care home that allowed Julya to work and be at home with the children. David worked for two redevelopment agencies in the Bay Area and eventually decided to open a mortgage brokerage, which he operated for 30 years. The business they are proudest of is the Orchard Inn on Old Redwood Highway. They turned a rundown tavern into an upscale dining establishment. Julya acted as executive chef and her
quest was to prove German food need not be heavy and fattening. She created what she called "California cuisine with a German accent." The restaurant is still successful under the lessees as Willi's Wine Bar.
David enjoys bowling, golfing, and reading. He is a member of the Board of Realtors and Multiple Listing Service. Julya is a fine portrait artist and appreciates that she now has time to pursue her passion, which is art. They still work in the real estate field and also spend leisure time doing brain games, playing Scrabble and doing crossword puzzles.