Been married 70 years or more? Then a special tribute is in order


10/5/1989 A few weeks ago, Susan and I took our two youngest children, Kris and Brandon, and drove up Provo canyon to Midway. It was time for the annual Swiss Days Celebration, which we have enjoyed attending since moving back to Utah.

After the parade, I happened to meet Danny Kramer, well-known radio personality in our area who was a host announcer for the annual Swiss Days Parade, Danny is one of the unique individuals who doesn’t appear to change much. In fact, he seems to get younger and younger each year.

While talking, we reminisced about a contest we co-sponsored a few years ago. We ran a Mr. Mom contest in this column and on his radio program to discover the ideal husbands in Utah when it came to helping around the house and also assisting in taking care of the children. It was impressive to find out that there were, indeed, genuine Mr. Moms living in our midst.

I suggested to Danny in Midway that evening that we ought to sponsor some other kind of contest. He agreed. We talked about several possibilities and finally decided we would try to locate the five couples in Utah who have been married the longest as of October 1989. We thought it would be appropriate to find out who they are and acknowledge them in some way.

Why locate and honor such couples? A few years ago, I tried to find how many couples in Utah had been married more than 75 years. I was amazed to find there were more than 20, many of whom lived in Price and St. George, I called some of these couples and talked to them on the phone. Most were near or at 100 years of age and had married in the year 1910, 1911 or 1912. I asked them what it had been like to be married for three-quarters of a century.

They talked about being married during World War I, the prosperity of the 1920s and the difficulty of rearing a family during the Depression in the 1930s. Some talked about the trials they experienced during World War II as family members went off to fight for their country. They often spoke of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Most spoke with loving appreciation for their family members who were now assisting them during the later years of married life.

Because of better health and increased longevity, many couples today celebrate golden anniversaries noting 50 years of marriage. It may well be that a significant number will reach 75 years of marriage if present trends continue.

In all honesty, fewer things have impressed me more during the 10 years I’ve been writing this column than interviewing some of the couples who have been married for 75 years. Susan and I talked a lot after the interviews. We will be celebrating 25 years of marriage in June 1990. We realized our 50th anniversary would be in the year 2015. And our 75th anniversary would be in 2040 if we remain committed and do things like jog (or perhaps walk) and wear our safety belts when driving.

Why not join Danny and me in our project of locating the five couples in Utah who have been married the longest? If you know of someone who has been married a long time, say 70 years or more, write and let us know. And tell me (1) the couple, (2) their address, (3) a phone number, if possible, where they can be reached, and (4) the date of couple’s marriage. After we have located the couples, Danny and I plan to publicly recognize them in some appropriate way.

Seventy-five years of marriage? What will life and marriage be like in the year 2040? What year will you/did you celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary? And possibly, just possibly, your 75th?

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