Harold and Edna Owings of Burbank, California, who were married 82 years ago on November 24, 1931, have been named the Longest Married Couple in America.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith based marriage enrichment program in the United States, made the announcement yesterday. This is the fourth year that the WWME has hosted the project to recognize and celebrate couples whose enduring faithfulness provides a wonderful example of fidelity to younger generations.
“What a privilege and honor it is to recognize Harold and Edna Owings for their commitment to marriage,” said Ron and Judy Pekny, the United States Ecclesial Team for WWME. “We are looking forward to personally recognizing them on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th, in their hometown of Burbank.”
The Owings were married Nov. 24, 1931. Childhood sweethearts, they met in 5th grade when Harold began bringing Edna a Baby Ruth candy bar every day.
This explains why, when they celebrated their 82nd anniversary in Las Vegas a few months ago, the cake was decorated to look like a Baby Ruth bar.
“When Edna, 101, and Harold, 102, saw the cake, their faces lit up,” wrote Annalise Porter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who covered the event.
As it turned out, Harold’s parents worked at a grocery store and allowed their son to pick out a treat. Instead of eating it himself, the 10 year-old brought it to Edna.
“I was his girlfriend and there’d be a candy bar Baby Ruth on my desk every day,” she said, adding, “Two if he thought I was mad.”
Even though Edna did not consider herself to be as pretty as the other girls, Harold called her “my idea of what a little girl should look like.”
They married in her parent’s backyard on Thanksgiving Day, 1931, when she was 19 and he was 20. Their first apartment cost $2.00 a month.
Harold managed manufacturing plants and Edna became a hairdresser. Together they raised two children, both of whom are deceased. Their oldest grandchild is 55 and their oldest great-grandchild is 27.
The two centenarians live in Burbank now but travel to Las Vegas every six weeks to play cards and make friends. Harold said they first visited the city in 1947 when gas cost just 11 cents a gallon. The pair gave up driving at the age of 91.
What is their advice for married couples?
Be happy, consider each other’s feelings, and stay busy, Edna said.
Harold advises couples to remember that both people have a right to their opinion.
A presentation of gifts and acknowledgments to the Owings will be made on Feb. 14th at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School in Burbank.
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