Twenty-seven couples gathered at Coon Rapids Senior Center June 6 and celebrated golden years of wedded bliss – a total of 1,461 years of marriage to be exact.
Dale and Rosemary Gourley of Coon Rapids boast the longest-running marriage, marking their 67th wedding anniversary June 13.
“We met at a roller rink. He was a little hometown boy and I was a little hometown girl, and we got married right away,” Rosemary said, smiling at her beau, who said he knew right away she was the one.
But first, Dale courted Rosemary, taking her to the movies or on long walks to the park, attending family gatherings and demonstrating to her his love and devotion.
“I wouldn’t have got her if I didn’t court her,” Dale said.
They had a very small wedding in Cornell, Ill., with only parents and attendants present.
After the ceremony, Dale’s mother made dinner for the group.
The Gourleys lived in Illinois until moving to Minnesota in 1951. They owned a grocery store near Centennial High School in Circle Pines, and the entire family – including the kids – worked at the store.
After nearly 20 years of owning the store, Dale started working as a machinist.
In their retirement Dale and Rosemary moved to Florida for 10 years and also enjoyed traveling.
These days Rosemary enjoys crocheting and Dale enjoys cowboy movies and his beloved Minnesota Twins baseball team.
Most of all, the Gourleys enjoy spending time with their four children and their spouses, their 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
In addition to the Gourleys, more than two dozen other local couples married 50 years or longer enjoyed the 50-plus wedding anniversary celebration at the Coon Rapids Senior Center, taking the “grand march through the arch” and receiving a long-stemmed yellow rose and a certificate to commemorate the day.
Following the march, couples took their seats at linen draped tables and enjoyed a medley of love songs performed by the Goldentones Choir.
An anniversary lunch was served with a special anniversary cake as dessert.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]