How to stay married 82 years? ‘Keep busy but stay happy’

Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s 2014 Longest Married Couple Project Winners, Harold & Edna Owings of Burbank, look at a bowl of 82 Baby Ruth candy bars --- one for every year of their marriage.

He would bring candy bars to school for her, where they met in the fifth grade.

Harold Owings was always sweet on Edna, and his perseverance so impressed her that when she was 19 and he was 20 she married him 82 years ago on Nov. 24, 1931.

Harold, 102, and Edna, 101, were honored Feb. 14 as Worldwide Marriage Encounter’s 2014 Longest Married Couple Project Winners in a ceremony attended by family members and WWME leaders at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School’s Eleanor Hall in Burbank.

The couple achieved the honor of being the Longest Married Couple based on nearly 300 nominations submitted to WWME from all across the country beginning in October of last year until the project ended on Jan. 10.

“We realize there could be couples married longer, but we did not receive their nominations from friends or family during the nominating period,” said Ron and Judy Pekny, WWME’s U.S. Ecclesial Team couple from Fort Worth, Texas.

“It is with great pride that we are here today to recognize your truly extraordinary 82 years of marriage,” said Judy. “We are so thankful of the commitment that you have been to each other and for being such a visible sign of the power of love that a man and woman have in the precious gift God gave us in marriage.

“Scripture tells us that is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two of them become one [flesh]. What a remarkable union you brought about 82 years ago when you exchanged your vows on Thanksgiving Day. We can only imagine how many lives have been blessed by witnessing your relationship through the years.”

The Peknys presented the Owings with several commendations and gifts, including a congratulatory proclamation from Burbank’s mayor, a Bible for the Christian couple, a swan figurine and a musical egg lighthouse.

“Harold and Edna, you are a lighthouse, a sign of hope for couples who can’t quite find the safety of the shore amid so many storms in their lives,” said Ron. “You show us that not only can we find safety, we can also find joy, the joy of an 82-year voyage, side-by-side with the love of your life. May this lighthouse offer hope to all who follow you on their own journey of marriage and faithful love.”

“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long to us at all,” said Edna, who offered words of advice for a lasting marriage. “Keep busy but stay happy. We’ve been happy. We plan things together and we never thought of getting angry or yelling at each other. If you love each other enough to get married, it’s nice to feel like you really belong to someone.

“We are as much in love now as we were when we got married,” she continued. “We’ve never had a lot of money, but we’ve never wanted anything we couldn’t afford, so we’ve never been frustrated or aggravated over anything. We had two wonderful children (now deceased) [and] a loving family [of] four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren and they’re all doing well.”

“I never remember having an argument with Edna and it lasting overnight,” added Harold. “I always believed that she has a right to her opinion and I have a right to my opinion and we both express our opinions to each other and we leave it that way and eventually we find out which one is right.”

Karl Schneider, the Owings’ 22-year-old great grandson among several relatives attending the event, said his great grandparents’ “everlasting love” and the fact that they settle disagreements within 24 hours have made a big impression on him.

“Their marriage has been something I’ve always looked up to as the ideal marriage,” said Schneider. “I kind of set my standards based on them.”

WWME, the original faith-based marriage enrichment program with a presence in almost 100 countries, has been offering weekend experiences in the U.S. for over 45 years. Upcoming local weekends are scheduled in Chatsworth (Feb. 28-March 2) and Palmdale (April 25-27).

For more information about WWME weekends, log on to www.wwme.org; www.twocanlove.org (local website) or call (909) 863-9963. 


Voices

Appreciating the gift of memory

Anne Hansen

Why do we hold on to so many things in closets, garages and storage units? What is it about the birth announcement of an adult child or the high school diploma of an elderly grandparent that keeps these objects carefully saved rather than discarded? They are of no use to anyone and take up space. Yet they are precious and difficult to part with.

 

 

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land

Events

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January 25, 2015

  • Saturday, January 24

    Building Bridges through Intercultural Competency: A Symposium on the Future of Education and Ministry in the Church, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will deliver a keynote address, which will be followed by two panel discussions on issues of intercultural competency and diversity featuring experts and practitioners working in Catholic education and other ministries in Southern California and across the United States. For more information, please contact the LMU School of Education Office of the Dean at (310) 258-8768.

    Life in the Spirit Seminar, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.), Incarnation School Auditorium, 1001, N Brand Blvd., Glendale. Led by Fr. Bill Adams C.S.s.R. (818) 421-1354.

    Journey Through Grief, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-4867.

    “One Life, One Light” Requiem for the Unborn, 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles.

  • Sunday, January 25

    44th Annual Whale Fiesta, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. Free. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium celebrates marine mammals and the beginning of the migration of the Pacific gray whales along Southern California. Activities include building a life-sized whale out of sand, “Great Duct Tape Whale Contest” and “Whale Dynamics,” where participants will be transformed into a single “living whale.” (310) 548-7562.

    “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change” with director Jayasri Majumdar Hart, 3-5 p.m., St. Bernadette Parish, 3825 Don Felipe Dr., Los Angeles. A discussion with Ms. Hart will follow the screening.  Free.

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