Who said it wouldn't last? Connecticut couple to mark 81st anniversary

Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:37pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Richard Weizel

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (Reuters) - John and Ann Betar eloped on November 25, 1932, fleeing their close-knit Syrian neighborhood in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and driving as fast as they could to Harrison, New York, to avoid Ann's father's plans to marry her off to a man 20 years older.

Now, as their 81st wedding anniversary approaches on Monday, the couple, named on Valentine's Day by Worldwide Marriage Encounter as 2013's "longest married couple" in America, can only laugh as they look back on the commotion they caused.

"Everyone was hopping mad, and my wife's aunt consoled my father-in-law by telling him not to worry, the marriage won't last," chuckled John Betar, now 102 and still driving "though not quite as fast as the day we got married."

Ann Betar, 98, said she "had no choice but to elope because my father was set on me marrying a much older man, and I was 17. John was not the boy next door, but the boy across the street who I loved," she said.

"He was 21 and used to drive me to high school in his Ford Roadster," she added.

"That's why she married me, she loved that car," joked John Betar, as he sat on a couch holding his wife's hand in the waterfront house they have shared since 1964.

The day the couple tied the knot, the Great Depression was in full swing, "King Kong" had yet to shake up the silver screen, and future U.S. President John F. Kennedy was just a high school student.

"We have watched the world change together," said John Betar. "The key is to always agree with your wife."   Continued...

John and Ann Betar are seen at their home in Fairfield, Connecticut, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin