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Longtime love

Gwen StephensonDirector, Senior Programs of Garfield CountyGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Indepenent/Kelley Cox
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Where they live: Silt since 1981. They moved from Ohio when Marshall transferred out with Mountain Bell during the oil shale boom.Married: At the United Methodist Church, in Painesville, Ohio, Sept. 16, 1949.How they met: In high school. Marshall was a friend of Ruth’s brother, and they “ran around” with each other. First date: They went roller-skating. That was the thing to do. There was a whole gang that hung around together. A diversion: In 1943, a year after he graduated from high school, Marshall left home to serve in the Army during World War II. He boarded the Queen Mary headed to Glasgow Scotland in 1944, and from there he made his way to Wales and then shipped out to Utah Beach. He then fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and held the Cologne Bridge over the Rhine River until the troops could cross into Germany. He was discharged on Dec. 6, 1946. Shortly after Marshall returned home from the war, he started seeing Ruth. Children and grandchildren: Two daughters and one son, four grandsons.

Most memorable time of marriage:Ruth: Traveling. We did a lot of traveling around the country in a truck with a camper and then later in a motor home. We used to go to Arizona all the time, but we don’t any more. I enjoyed that so much. Now, we lead a very quiet life. But we do like volunteering at the Rifle Senior Center together.Marshall: We’ve had a lot of enjoyable times. We’ve enjoyed our family and friends. We did like to travel a lot. I have great memories of the places we’ve been.Biggest challenge: R: It really has been great. We don’t argue much even though we have little disagreements. We never did get too mean. Marshall puts up with me and I put up with him. He’s a very patient man.M: It’s been a good marriage, no problems and nothing serious. We just had little discrepancies once in a while. When the weather was nice, I spent 95 percent of my time outside and it kept us from fighting.The secret to their success: R: Just tolerating each other. That’s the only way I can express it! People nowadays don’t wait it and out and they just quit. You can’t do that … You have to work hard and make it go.M: We just did things that we enjoyed doing together. We were involved in the Eastern Star and the Masons. Ruth is a 57-year member of the Eastern Star and has been Worthy Matron four times. I’ve been a Worthy Patron eight times and a Rainbow Dad. I’ve carved over 100 of the Rainbow Girls’ gavels. We were just able to go where we wanted to go and made the best of it. Being spontaneous has made it fun.Thoughts about life now: R: Well, things are different now than they used to be. Although, all of this technology amazes me and all of the changes with the computers are astounding.M: What I’ve also noticed is that people don’t worry about other people, they come first. People used to be more considerate of each other in just little things.Hopes and dreams for the future:Both: We want to go back to Ohio one more time to see our daughter! Everything is on a day-to-day basis and we make the best of it.

Where they live: Battlement Mesa for 12 years. Moved from Evergreen, where they had a ranch for 35 years.Married: Nov. 4, 1956, at Grace Baptist Church in DenverHow they met: In 1946 on a September morning at Lakewood Junior High School. Dick was a junior in high school and Helen was in her last year of junior high. The occasion was band rehearsal with Dick on the French horn and Helen playing the glockenspiel. Helen was smitten, but Dick looked at her as another of one the ‘lower-class women’ who seemed to look up to him.First Date: Spring of 1948 when they went to the junior-senior play, “The Bat.” Children and grandchildren: Two biological sons, one adopted daughter and 16 foster children, three biological grandchildren and five foster grandchildren.Most memorable time of their marriage:Dick: There have been so many. I always go back to the day we were married – it was just a special day. All of Helen’s relatives and my relatives were there and trying to do chivalries. We did not want anyone decorating either of our cars and went to great lengths to hide them. But, I do remember when they decorated our new house in Kittridge and they also covered the trees outside with tin cans!Helen: Fifty years is a long time but it has gone fast! Being a parent was the most memorable for me. We first started with foster children, then we adopted a child and several years later, we had two biological sons. We were on the ranch and so we had a lot of room, plus many animals … dogs, cats, horses and over 100 rabbits. The kids just enjoyed being there.Biggest challenge: D: Keeping the bills paid. Probably the toughest time is when I cut four fingers off in the saw. Thankfully, they were able to re-attach my fingers. But, for a while, I didn’t know if I’d be able to work again. It was then that I decided to take a position with Red Rocks Community College as a vocational instructor.H: Yes, money was tight but we always managed to make it, there were many nights I went to bed counting dollars and wasn’t sure how we were going pull through.



The secret to their success: D: Give and take. It has to be a little of this and a little of that. It can’t be one person dominating everything all the time. It depends on what’s happening at the time. Sometimes it’s 80/20 if one person is going through a difficulty. Helen was really the one who stepped up during the time I cut my fingers off. And now, because my back is injured, she’s having to step up again and do more than her fair share. Conversely, I stepped up and was the one who took charge when Helen was diagnosed with diabetes and when she was ill.H: Talking and working your problems out. You can’t just go running home. In fact, both sets of parents told us that it was not an option to go to them, that we had to solve problems on our own. And, with the foster kids we had our share of problems, but most of the kids were very good. Although, I was 23 and Dick was 26 when we were married, maybe that’s why we lasted.Thoughts about life now: D: It is hell to get old! Getting old isn’t for sissies! Maybe I should have taken better care of my body!H: I think couples don’t try to work together now-a-days. During our marriage, we really had to stick together. It is really hard to make ends meet now and with both parents working it’s a struggle. Because people are so busy, I don’t think families spend as much time together as they used to. We used to play games, participate in the community, just watch TV, and cook as a group. I think so many people are just trying to survive now.Hopes and dreams for the future: D: When we first came to Battlement Mesa, we did some traveling around and then got tired of it. Now, we like to stay home and keep busy with all of the volunteer things we do. Helen really enjoys volunteering at Mesa Vista. A lot of seniors have lost so many people and they are lonely, they just love having someone to talk to. Volunteering has been a big part of our lives and we just want to keep to going. I’m on the board of directors for the Valley Senior Center, the vice-president of the advisory committee at Mesa Vista, secretary for the Kiwanis Club Foundation, and the Secretary for the Garfield Council on Aging.H: Just to be able to live out our lives! We’ve done pretty well during the last 12 years we’ve been retired. Although, prices keep going up and I don’t know how we’ll keep on. Even so, I just want to enjoy these years and we’re thankful we can! I also want to continue my volunteering. I love being at Mesa Vista!


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