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

Iowa and us in a Year of Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez

It was in the general-purpose room of St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines that Donald Trump made his last pitch to Iowa voters, inside a caucus room. He wanted to make sure people remembered that not only will he build the wall on our border with Mexico, but that he’s the only candidate who will make Mexico pay for it.

Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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