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Lovebirds head to the altar after 119 years of marriage
MARYSVILLE Some people might think 119 years of marriage is punishment enough, but two local lovebirds with that much experience went back to the well one more time last month.
Esther Hartley and Merle Loucks met and fell in love at the Grandview Village retirement home and tied the knot Nov. 19. Merle is 85 years old and Esther is 77.
Their union marks a homecoming of sorts: while married to their previous spouses they lived just three doors down from each other in a housing development in town. Both were widowed after decades of marriage; Loucks was wed for 63 years and Hartley for more than 56 years. Their respective spouses passed away just six months apart.
I dont know if youve got another 119 years in you but well take what we can get, said Deb Loughrey-Johnson, executive director of Grandview Village. She was giving the first of many toasts during a Dec. 1 reception for the newlyweds. She noted the Loucks and Hartley used to watch the Mariners games together.
They really struck a home run there, she laughed.
Visitors and residents of the home celebrated the couples good fortune with music and a wedding cake.
Arleta Loucks has known her father-in-law for 24 years and was as thrilled as Merle.
He is so mesmerized by Esther, she said.
Grace Jensen is a Grandview resident and a good friend of Hartleys who sat next to her at the main table.
I think its wonderful, Jensen said. I wouldnt want to do it, but I think its wonderful for them.
Loucks has been at the home for one year, and Hartley for four; they soon warmed to each other and set a date.
We decided we were both lonely and so we decided to take care of that, Loucks explained as he and his bride finished feeding cake to each other.
They were united on the secret to a lasting marriage. Loucks said religion was a big reason his marriage lasted so long.
Jesus Christ; theres your answer, he said matter-of-factly. Do nothing apart from each other.
Hartley encouraged couples to always talk things over.
My husband and I were like Merle and Hazel; we could work things out, Hartley said.