Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 15, 2023
Will You Be My Valentine?

Love is in the air as couples that have lasted the test of time celebrate each other 

Fewer than 5% of marriages last 50 or more years and just 1% reach their 60th.

Luckily, Tooele County has several couples who have been married for the long term and were willing to share their secrets for a happy life with the Transcript.

What’s that saying? Happy wife; happy life? No. That doesn’t sound right. Happy house; happy spouse? Ah, that sounds right.

Jay and Patricia (Pat) Wilson have lived in Tooele for over 50 years and have been married for a whopping 63, almost 64, happy years.

Jay and Pat met on July 3, 1959. It was such a special day that Pat remembers the exact date.

“It was a blind date,” Jay said, speaking of how they met. “I had some friends who said they were going out and I said I didn’t have anybody to go with. They said they knew a gal and they would introduce us and we could get acquainted.”

Their first date was at a park in Provo.

“We talked and got acquainted,” Pat said.

After the date, Jay knew he had the biggest crush on Pat, so he found out where she lived and stopped by to visit every week without fail.

About three months later, Jay proposed and the couple was married at Pat’s mothers house on Nov. 26, 1959.

The couple later moved to Tooele where Jay began working at the Tooele Army Depot as a vehicle mechanic and later in the ammunition department. Pat was mainly a homemaker with a few short-term jobs here and there in the summer months.

Together they had two children: a daughter and a son. Their son sadly passed away, but their daughter, along with their grandchildren, are their pride and joy.

“Our daughter is just so smart,” Jay said.

During his working career, in the 1980’s, Jay, Pat, and their daughter had the chance to visit Korea twice.

While in Korea, Jay worked in mechanics, Pat taught English, and their daughter worked in childcare.

“That was fun and interesting to be over there,” Pat said. “We were there during the Olympics and we got to watch the preparations.”

When asked if they have any funny stories about their marriage, Jay said no.

“It’s been serious every single day,” he said.

“No,” Pat chimed in laughing. “Nothing is ever serious with you.”

The couple talked about the secrets of a long marriage and what has kept them together during the good and bad times.

“It’s just not giving up,” Pat said. “We’ve kept our vows that we made when we got married. There’s a lot of good times in there. You know? You have struggles, but there are a lot of happy times in there as well … Our marriage has [also] gotten stronger since we joined Cornerstone Baptist Church and accepted the Lord as our Savior. That for us helped us grow together and helped our marriage a lot.”

The couple plans to keep God at the center of their marriage for the rest of their lives.

For Valentine’s Day this year, the couple celebrated by doing their taxes.

“We celebrate almost every day, so we don’t have to do anything on the special days,” Pat said.

“I’ll probably bring her a flower,” Jay added when asked before the holiday.

Byron and Corrie Anderson, longtime Grantsville residents, have been married for over 61 years. If the name “Byron Anderson” rings a bell, you might recall he was the mayor of Grantsville for a while.

“We’ve known each other since he played baseball with my brother in Grantsville when they were around 10 or 12 years old,” Corrie said, speaking about how she met Byron.

“I looked across the field and saw this little, blond-haired girl and that did it,” Byron joked.

For the next few years, Byron kept his eye on the pretty, blond girl, but it wasn’t until their teens when they officially got together.

One day, Corrie wrecked her car and Byron came to assess the damage.

“In those days you got your license when you were 15 and a half,” Corrie explained. “During the last day of school, looking at the yearbook and driving didn’t pay off, and I hit a parked car. Byron and a friend came up to see the damage and he asked me out. We’ve been together ever since.”

The couple often drove around together, attended dances at both Grantsville and Tooele High Schools, and hung out at the old grocery store Byron’s father owned where Guzzle is today.

The couple can’t remember when Byron proposed, but they were married on Jan. 2, 1962 when Byron was 18 and Corrie was 17. They were married at Corrie’s parent’s house in Tooele. After the ceremony, Corrie moved to Grantsville with her new husband.

Byron and Corrie had five children: four girls and one boy. They now have quite the legacy with 17 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren

“We are very family oriented,” Corrie said. “We have one daughter who lives in South Carolina, but other than that, all of our kids live here in the area.”

“Family is the only important thing,” Byron added.

During their younger days, Byron and Corrie enjoyed traveling together.

“We’ve been to Europe, all through Mexico, the Caribbean, the east coast, Hawaii, and almost every state,” Byron said.

Communication, love, trust, and spending time together is the secret for a long, happy marriage, according to the couple.

“We do everything together,” Corrie said.

“Don’t sweat the little things,” Byron added. “Don’t worry about whether or not the toilet seat is up or down … Overlook the quirks.”

This year for Valentine’s Day, the couple plans to spend time together at home.

Although Gary and Mary Steadman have only been married just over 50 years, there is no shortage of love in their relationship.

 “I was married for 13 years and I had two girls and a boy,” Mary said, talking about her life before Gary. “My husband had a lot of other interests other than us, so I divorced. After the divorce, I said, ‘I will never marry again,’ I was determined.”

After her divorce, Mary transferred to the West Valley office of her job and met a coworker who loved to play matchmaker.

“She said she knew of a man who was widowed in Tooele,” Mary said, speaking of her coworker. “She wrote a letter to Gary’s younger brother down at Steadman’s in Tooele where he was working. His younger brother handed him the letter. Gary called me, and that was it.”

Mary took a leap of faith after the phone call and went on a date with Gary at the bowling alley.

On the second date, Gary took his own leap of faith and proposed. Mary said yes.

“He was so good to me and my children,” Mary said. “We were having a hard, hard time and he was so amazing.”

The couple was married on June 23, 1972. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year with their family.

“Gary always said we won’t live long enough to celebrate our 50th anniversary but we made it,” Mary laughed.

The couple has had anything but an easy life, but their determination to love each other during the good and bad trumps anything they have gone through.  

“We’ve had ups and downs,” Mary said. “We’ve lost a daughter and two little great-grandsons. We argue sometimes, but most of the time we get along really well.”

The Steadmans pray every night together. That’s their secret for a happy marriage.

For Valentine’s Day this year, the couple had an uneventful evening, because they are always attending doctor’s appointments and fixing things around the home.

“If we are lucky, we won’t do anything,” Gary said prior to Valentine’s Day. “We might have a special meal.”


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