Where the love began for 3 couples married for decades

  • By Andrea Brown, Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, November 6, 2013 1:04pm
  • Life

The room held 212 years of marriage.

And there were only three couples.

That’s a lot of good times and bad, sickness and health.

But these dynamic duos, who have each passed the 70th anniversary mark, know how to keep it for better.

Art Sather kept his hand on wife Verdie’s knee for the entire interview. Even after almost 71 years, he still can’t keep his hands off her.

Imogene Rumppe smeared lipstick on husband Archie from kissing him so much. The photographer told them to kiss for a photo but, really, they didn’t have to keep doing it. They’d obviously had plenty of practice in their seven decades of marriage.

As for Stan and Maryon Green, well, they are the grand champions of matrimony. They marked 72 years of wedded bliss on Sept. 26.

And there’s only one thing she’d like to change about her hubby.

“I wished he’d eat faster,” Maryon said. She chews slower so they finish at the same time.

As for him, yeah, there’s something he’d like to change about her, too.

“I’d change her sight,” Stan said.

She has lost most of her vision.

It turns out there’s no one secret or magic potion to staying married that long. All it takes are a few basic ingredients: resilience, faith, kindness, humor, love. No doubt good genes help.

The trio is among four married couples residing at South Pointe in Everett, a retirement community of about 45 people. The fourth couple recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.

If it’s something in the water, we all want what they’re drinking.

Stan and Maryon Green

They met at a skating rink in Seattle.

“She was bashful and quiet,” Stan said. “I was ogling all the girls. I didn’t really hit on her in that sense. What I saw was a girl who was being a little bit harassed by rink rats — that’s what we called them then. I took off and went directly over there and skated with her. And it was a start.”

He asked for her phone number. She gave him the wrong one.

“She didn’t mean to,” he said.

No matter. They met at the rink again. And kept meeting.

What did she like about him?

“He was clean-cut,” she said. “He liked to do things. No matter what it was.”

They married on Sept. 26, 1941. When he went off to war, they were apart only physically.

“She wrote a bundle of letters,” he said. “As did I.”

They still have all the letters.

For medical reasons, the couple recently moved from an independent cottage on the South Pointe campus to separate assisted-living rooms in the main building. If she’s not in his room, he’s in hers. At their heels is their dog, Maggie, an 8-year-old Yorkie mix.

The years have been good to them, but 90-plus years apiece of living takes a toll.

“I’m losing some of this,” Stan said, pointing to his forehead and a mind that served him well during his career as an insurance adjustor. “She’s my encyclopedia.”

He’s her eyesight, especially when it comes to serious business, like rummy.

“Let’s say a heart is called for and she throws down a diamond,” he said. “I let it go until I lose the game. Then I accuse her of cheating.”

Art and Verdie Sather

“I met her in Hollywood and married her in Moscow,” Art said.

No matter that the church was Hollywood Temple in Seattle and that the Moscow was in Idaho. It makes for a good story.

It was by chance that they hooked up. They were at the temple on that fateful day to meet other people.

“I went to the church for the single reason to meet this guy,” Verdie said. “Art was there to see this girl. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been in that church, either.”

Verdie came in and sat in front of him and his buddy. He had a hard time concentrating on the sermon.

“My friend and I were sitting behind her. I poked him and said, ‘Hey, nice stuff,’” Art said.

Did Verdie feel the same about him?

“I prayed,” she said. “I spent a lot of time praying that he was the one.”

They married on Christmas Eve in 1942.

He was a minister and she taught Bible school.

“She did her thing in the church and I did mine. And we just flowed together,” he said.

They still flow.

“If there are any disagreements, we ask for forgiveness. Then we don’t care about it anymore. What God forgives we try to forgive in each other. If we need it. And we need it quite frequently.”

Archie and Imogene Rumppe

Imogene calls their marriage “an incredible journey.”

“We were both from Wisconsin, but we met in Kansas,” Imogene said.

They were at a religious function.

“What got my attention was when she sang,” Archie said.

She liked him back, but kept her feelings in check. After all, he was an older man.

“He was a first-year theology student,” she said. “I was only 16. My mother said I had plenty of time.”

They met again, back in Wisconsin, when she was teaching at a Christian school.

This time, her mom was the instigator. She lured Archie to the house with baked goods.

“My mother said, ‘I just made apple pie and freshly baked bread. Wouldn’t you like to come home with us tonight?’ “

The married on Dec. 22, 1942, and began their journey in the ministry.

“At one church they called him Pastor and called me Mrs. Preacher,” Imogene said.

“She always makes me look good. Better than I am,” Archie said. “I can say on behalf of pulpit and pew that if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here.”

He almost wasn’t here to smooch for the photo.

“He had a brain tumor,” Imogene said. “We almost lost him. I think when you almost lose someone, when you’ve faced heartache, it does something to the whole family. It drew us together like nothing else.”

Their favorite thing to do: “Going out to eat with the kids. To Arnies on the waterfront,” Imogene said.

“What she said is good enough for me,” Art said.

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