"Married 40 Years or More" Winners Are...

First and foremost, a huge thanks to the thoughtful relatives and friends who took the time to write in about your loved ones.  It warmed my heart to read your entries.  Some of your entries brought tears to my eyes, as I felt like I knew the couple and their love.  All of your entries were very inspiring.

It was incredibly difficult to just choose 3 couples.  So, I read, re-read, and read the entries again and again.

I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t choose 3 couples.   I chose 6-congratulations! 

These 6 couples touched me deeply for several reasons.   I cannot wait to meet all 12 of you and document your amazing marriages!

Please contact me at: tracey@traceybuyce.com to set up your portrait session.

Katherine nominated Russell & Elinor:
I would like to nominate Russell and Elinor Laustrup, married 62 years. Their love story began 65 years ago when Russ (18) and Elinor (15) met ice-skating. Everybody told them they weren’t old enough to be in love but they didn’t see it and were married on June 24, 1951. It was the year of the famous Nat King Cole song “Too Young” which became their wedding song and favorite. Out of a lifetime of love, came six children, 16 grandchildren and six great grandchildren (so far). The rest of their “family” is comprised of friends, old and new. Memories their children share of growing up include: their parents dancing in the kitchen every morning, camping at Rogers Rock every summer and countless family gatherings. They don’t recall their parents ever fighting or saying a cross word to each other. Because they didn’t. To this day they hold hands like love struck teenagers and seek each other out when separated with “Where is my sweetheart” or “Have you seen my honey?” Their home is the place where everybody gathers for joy & laughter and during the hardest of times. One of those times was four years ago when they lost their son Bob to a malignant brain tumor. He moved in with them when he was sick and they cared for him until he took his last breath. The door was always open for visitors. Still devastated by this loss, it would seem completely unimaginable to have lightning strike twice. But that is exactly what happened. Just two weeks ago, they lost their son Mark to a brain tumor. He lived around the corner and was at their home almost every day. They say no parent should ever have to bury a child. But to lose two sons to such a horrible disease, is just incomprehensible. Two men bravely battled their illnesses without a single complaint. And two parents patiently cared for them, giving them the love, space and dignity they needed. Courage only possible because of the strength of family. Russ and Elinor exemplify the purity of love in its every form. I can’t think of a more deserving couple for this tribute.

Lisa nominated Mary Ann and Paul:
Mary Ann was in High School and sick at home with jaundice. A slew of visitors flocked my grandmothers home to visit the girl with the pretty yellow tint to her skin. As my grandmother recalls …” the kids filed through the door and the last boy inside who was very quiet, humble and handsome became your father Paul” Mary Ann’s husband for 52 years. They had 3 daughters; 7 granddaughters and 1 grandson. They have lived their faith based lives always giving back to make this world a kinder place. They volunteer in Lourdes France every year to help with the sick and every year take more and more volunteers with them. They are an inspiration to all who know them as well as outstanding role models for their grandchildren.

Stephanie nominated: Natale and Carmell:

69 years. How many people can say they know or have known a couple who have been married for 69 years? I have been lucky enough to grow up with grandparents who will have been married for 69 years this June. If you really want to witness true love, companionship and friendship, spend five minutes with this couple. Now at 90 and 91 years old, my grandparents are still as in love as they were when I was just a kid. I fondly remember my grandfather washing the dishes every night after dinner because that was “his job” and my grandmother always tucking his napkin in his collar so he didn’t spill. It’s the little things that show how much they care for each other. When I ask about how they got engaged, my grandmother will tell the same story every time. “We were necking and your grandfather said “How could I live without you?” And I responded “You’re just going to have to marry me.” 69 years later they are still married and very much in love. They raised four children, have twelve grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. They also have a church community that fondly refers to them as Grandma and Grandpa. Now, into their nineties, they are both forgetful and fragile. My grandfather dresses my grandmother daily and would go out and buy her hot chocolate from Stewarts everyday, until his car was taken away. Their love is honest, unconditional, and something I have admired for my whole life. I cannot think of a better example of a couple who exemplify love at its’ purest.

Emily nominated Henry and Jeannette:

“And I said to my friend” – my grandfather smiles, remembering a moment over a half-century old – “that’s the girl I’m gonna marry.”
College sweethearts, my grandparents Henry and Jeannette Boehning have been married 53 years, and I have come to know their five decades of stories by heart. There is the one about how they met, on the quad at UAlbany; there’s the one about the engagement ring, a pearl set in gold bought with my grandfather’s army wages; there’s the one about the wedding day, and a bad hangover. There are the houses they’ve called home: The one on Long Island, where the lawn chairs doubled as living room furniture; the one on Cora Drive, where their priest used to come for football and Sunday dinner; the one in Latham, where I lived with my fiancé, Brian, for a month this year while we waited for our new apartment. There are the children and grandchildren, whose framed photographs trigger memories: Of a red wagon, fit for three kids; a seven horse, and a great-grandfather who loved the race track.
Through their stories – both the ones I know by heart (the one about Minerva, the old Albany mascot) and the ones I’m somehow only just learning (the one about a pregnant cat) – I see not only the life they’ve built, but the foundation on which it stands: On laughter, on generosity, on love. What I know about love I have learned from my grandparents; what I want out of my future, I know from their shared past. To nominate them today is to want to pay tribute to their stories, to ask them to see in themselves what we – their three children, five grandchildren, three son- and daughter-in-laws, and one future grandson-in-law – see: A marriage worth emulating.

 

Nora nominated Gary and Noreen:
 Hi Tracey, my name is Nora Sabatini and I would like to nominate my parents, Noreen and Gary Bonk, from Rotterdam. My parents married on Valentine’s Day 1953 and will be celebrating their 61st anniversary next month! Their journey has been one of strength and commitment. They had 8 children in less than ten years and have been blessed with 18 grand children over the years. They have been wonderful role models for myself and my siblings for all of these years! Now at the ages of 81 and 79, they are supporting and comforting each other through cancer and my mothers recent diagnosis with macular degeneration. It would be wonderful to have current photos to share with the family to honor the matriarch and patriarch of our clan!

 

Kaitlin nominated Nobert & Mary:
I am nominating Greg’s grandparents, Nobert and Mary Woods, who will be married 70 years next month. I am hardly the one who should be telling their story, but this couple is one of the most amazing, most lovely couples and I am so honored to know them. They are still so much in love and it shows. Their love is reflected in their 13 children, 24 grandchildren and the growing number of great grandchildren. At 92 and 94, they travel, read, garden, watch Jeopardy, and love sharing fond memories and stories. Ever since I met them they made me feel like I was part of the family. They are the kindest, most loving people and such wonderful role models for marriage. Norb & Mary (Grandma and Grandpa Woods) live in Schenectady, NY and they still go to Florida for the winter.