| Jun 04, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - June 4, 2009 Crossing the 70-year marriage milestoneby Julie Druker

Ken and Vera Stinson at their 70th wedding anniversary in Harrowsmith last Sunday

Seventy years of marriage is such an uncommon milestone that it is next to impossible to purchase a printed card honoring the event.

That did not stop the friends and family of Ken and Vera Stinson of Verona from celebrating the couple’s seven decades of married life.

Last Sunday a celebration was held in their honour at the Golden Links Hall in Harrowsmith. The elderly and able couple sat near the entrance greeting guests and receiving gifts, cards, flowers, along with many kisses and hugs. Guests made the special trip from Brockville, Perth, Lindsay, Napanee and relatives from as far away as Louisiana were also in attendance.

An ongoing slideshow highlighted the major events in the Stinson’s 70 years of marriage: the births of their 7 children, 13 grandchildren and 14 great grand children. Also highlighted were the many gatherings of friends and family at the Lakeview Lodge on Crow Lake, now known as Brown’s Lakeview Cottages and Campground, which is currently being run by their daughter Donna and her husband Earl.

Ken and Vera ran the lodge business for 20 years and it is the place they have called home for the last 42 years. It is also the place where many friendships were born, and which the couple have continued to nurture over the years. They both continue to be active and both love to tend to the gardens surrounding their home.

During Sunday’s celebrations, there were snacks and cake and a piper piped dressed in full regalia. Mayor Gary Davison also formally expressed his warm wishes. Guests leafed through photo albums and scrap books on display marking special events and occasions.

Ken and Vera, now 90 and 92 years old respectively, met in Westport where they used to attend the regular dances held there. They were married in Westport in 1939. Vera laughed and recalled, “My father told me not to go with him because he was ‘too wild‘.” Asked why she chose not to heed her father’s advice she responded with a laugh, “Does any teenager listen to their father?” Thankfully her mother was "easy going" and Ken proved to be not that wild after all.

He worked hard as a foreman for Alcan in Kingston for 35 years before taking over the Lakeview Lodge in 1967. Vera worked in the home and helped run the lodge with her husband for 20 years. She has also been a Harrrowsmith Rebekah for 50 years and is the longest standing current member. She was presented with her 50-year medallion last year.

Like most married couples Ken and Vera have managed to work through their ups and downs, but unlike most couples they have seven decades of experience under their belts. With that kind of experience I couldn’t help but press them for a bit of advice on the subject.

When asked about his secret to their shared success, Ken said, “It’s having a tolerant wife.”

Vera was more philosophical in her answer: “It’s not to want everything that there is to want in the world but to be happy with what you have.”

Once the majority of guests dispersed, the immediate family and their relatives, about 65 people all told, sat down to a turkey feast put on by the Harrowsmith Rebekahs.

Perhaps it was just another day in the married lives of Ken and Vera Stinson but for many it was a chance to honour and recognize a positive force in the community and to give thanks and pay their respects to a couple who have in their many years together always shown similar respect to many members of their community.

Hats off to Ken and Vera Stinson, who have set the bar for those of us who continue to pursue that sometimes trying relationship we call marriage.

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