They weren’t even supposed to be dating.
Back in 1952, the St. Paul Insurance Company office in Portland, Oregon, had a rule against office romance. But when Cleve Porter-Smith, fresh out of high school, began work at the office and met Ron Boehi, one of Ron's first questions was whether she was dating anyone.
They began seeing each other, and few co-workers at the office knew what was going on. So imagine the shock when Ron and Cleve announced their engagement during the office Christmas party.
They were married on July 31, 1953. And this year they celebrated their sixtieth anniversary. In a culture where divorce has become commonplace, when a growing number of people are avoiding or postponing marriage, my parents have provided a legacy of love and commitment to their children and grandchildren.
A source of strength
My wife, Merry, put together a notebook for my parents that included notes from my sister and me, our spouses, our children, and my daughters’ spouses. Reading through the notes, it was clear that my parents’ marriage has been a source of strength for all of us. Here are some quotes:
What an honor it is for me to say, "My parents are celebrating their sixtieth wedding anniversary this year!" In this day and age when families split apart and divorce is so prevalent, I think of how blessed and thankful I am to have parents who love each other and have worked hard at having a successful marriage. –Denise Munson (daughter)
You truly have one of the greatest love stories the world has known. I’m proud to be a part of that legacy. –Merry Boehi (daughter-in-law)
When I reflect on your wonderful marriage of 60 years I observe that your success is built on your love of God, love of family, love of friends, love of community, and love of laughter. By your example you have taught, inspired and provided me guidance in my marriage and life. Thank you! –Dave Munson (son-in-law)
It means so much to me that you are still together after all these years and are such great role models for all of our family. I know that times haven’t been and won’t always be easy, but watching you guys, I know that it is possible to stay together and make a marriage last. –Missy O’Dell (granddaughter)
I wanted to let you both know that your sixtieth anniversary is truly a great milestone and example to our generation that a long-lasting, happy marriage is attainable, if you set your priorities straight. Your faith and constant devotion towards sacrificing for one another has always been transparent to me and shown me the importance of sacrifice in marriage. It truly is special to see a relationship that can last over such a long time. –Ryan O’Dell (husband of granddaughter)
You have been a guiding light and an inspiration to me. Not only have you created a family whose main focus is to love and support each other, but have also imparted on us many aspects of a successful relationship. I have learned the importance of a relationship based on equality, honesty, communication, and passion. –Jessica Munson (granddaughter)
Your demonstration of unconditional love is one that I can only hope to measure up to. I have to say, especially in my generation, it is not common to observe a relationship so strong. –Chris Munson (grandson)
I am so happy to have the memories I do of all your milestone anniversaries and all the lessons I have learned from you. I can only strive to be like you both and enjoy 60 years of marriage myself one day! –Bethany Johnson (granddaughter)
I am so proud to call you family and I greatly appreciate your love for me and my family. You are very special people. –David Johnson (husband of granddaughter)
Sometimes we forget just how much our marriage means to other people, especially our children. No matter what else they’ve accomplished in their lives, 60 years of marriage may be my parents’ greatest achievement and greatest legacy.
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