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Exchange-80th Anniversary

Pete and Ruth Coury are shown on May 27 in Vienna, W.Va. The couple celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on May 31. The couple eloped May 31, 1941, in Oakland, Maryland, the day after Ruth graduated from high school.

VIENNA, W.Va. — After 80 years together, a Vienna couple is still very much in love.

Ruth and Pete Coury celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on May 31.

The couple marveled at the idea they will have been married 80 years as so few make it to 50 years and even fewer make it to 75 years.

“It is hard for me believe,” Ruth said.

Pete said working hard in his younger days helped him stay strong and healthy, which has helped keep him around.

“I worked and built a strong heart,” he said.

Ruth, 97, was born in Simpson, West Virginia, while Pete, 100, was born in Marietta. Both grew up in the Clarksburg area. Ruth was the middle child of seven kids and Pete was the fourth of nine in their families.

Their chance meeting happened at the Silver Slipper nightclub in Bridgeport in January 1941. It was the first and only time that either of them went there.

Ruth had convinced a friend to go with her. Pete was going there with his brother and the two noticed Ruth and her friend.

The guys had a plan to get the girls split up so each could talk to one. Pete insisted he wanted to talk to Ruth.

The two talked for awhile, danced and made a date for the following week.

“We started dating from then on,” Ruth said. “We dated for five months and then we eloped (in Oakland, Maryland). I graduated from high school on May 30, 1941, and we got married on May 31.”

“I wanted to marry her real bad because I loved her,” Pete said.

Pete said it was ultimately God’s will that brought them together and has kept them together.

“He brought us together,” Pete said.

“It had to be,” Ruth said.

The couple lived with his family in Clarksburg. Pete’s parents were from Syria.

“It was a completely different culture than what I am use to,” Ruth said. “It seemed like I came in and was immediately treated like a member of the family.”

The couple moved to Parkersburg in 1947 and subsequently to Vienna where they have lived since 1952.

He worked at a variety of jobs to make money to pay his parent’s rent.

Their first son was born in 1943 and a short time later Pete was called for military service in the U.S. Coast Guard and served on LST 790 during World War II in the Pacific, landing troops on Iwo Jima and landing troops and vehicles on Okinawa on April 1, 1945. He served from 1943 to 1946 and saw Japan immediately after the war.

Pete came home and continued to work a variety of jobs, including working for Ruth’s brother in the family funeral home.

Ruth always wanted to be a hairdresser and had to put it off when she got married. She eventually returned to beauty school in Marietta and graduated when she was 38.

She ended up working for a number of people for over four years.

At one point, Pete convinced her to open her own shop. At first she was apprehensive, but he told her it was the best way to get him out of the beer business.

They built a building on Emerson Avenue that became the Silhouette. They still own the building and rent it to another business.

“We were in the shop for about 20 years,” Ruth said. “We had a booming business. I fulfilled my dream.”

They are parents of three children: Gary of Cincinnati, Shelia of Parkersburg and Brad of Lawrenceville, Georgia; have three grandchildren, Korin, Shannon and Jared; and they have seven great-grandchildren, Haley, Madison, Nathan, Alexis, Juliet, Aaron and Kristen.

Ruth said they stayed together so long because of the examples set for them when they were younger.

“I think it was always in me that I was only going to be married once,” she said. “That was how we were raised. You only got married once.

“We have had our ups and downs and all arounds, but when it comes down to it, you wouldn’t trade that for anything,” Ruth said. “I think one thing is to be true to each other. If you are devoted to each other, you are going to make it work — no matter what.”

Some problems have to be kept in perspective and the couple has to be willing to get past them and forgive each other.

“When we would have a squabble, we would accept it, get over it, make up and move on,” Pete said. “If something goes wrong, we don’t run out and get a divorce. We iron it out. The biggest thing is you have to have love.”

“We still got it,” Ruth said.

As the couple looked back at their time together, they believed God always had a hand in their lives throughout the years.

“I think God has watched over us all of these years,” Ruth said. “We believe we were destined to be together. We are taking life one day at a time and living it in God’s peace.

Pete said he is as happy as he could be.

“I have had a great life,” he said. “I have been really happy with this woman right here.

“She is the best thing that ever happened to me. I love her and she loves me.”

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.).

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