Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski and his wife Audrey presented Hugo and Marion Hess a certificate and warm wishes on behalf of the Parliament of Canada on Monday.
“May all your days together be filled with good health and happiness,” read the certificate.
Marion and Hugo were married in 1954, August 7, at the Cranbrook United Church. Marion grew up on a ranch down by the river bottom near Mayook and the reception was held at the Mayook school, where she went from grade one to grade eight.
Hugo recalled the day he and Marion went to let her parents know about their engagement, and to request their blessing.
“Marion and I, she lived down at the river bottom, you see, so we parked up at the top, we have to run down to tell her mom and dad,” he said. “And we get down there and her mom was just beaming from ear to ear, because I had a very good job, a speciality job with diesel engines and stuff like that, and had a car — a ’51 Ford Victoria, Atlantic Green and black top and a sun visor.
“I told her mom that I would look after her daughter and she was so pleased,” Hugo added, to which Marion replied, “And so you have.”
Marion and Hugo have two grandchildren and a daughter in Cranbrook and each of them has a brother that still lives here too. They were members at the Cranbrook Golf Course for 40 years, and so the patio at its restaurant made for a perfect setting to receive their certificate from the Stetskis.
Wayne and Audrey were at the Hess’ 60th anniversary five years ago, and presented them a certificate as well, but on behalf of the city, as Wayne was then Mayor of Cranbrook. He said he thought it was so cool that he could be there again, presenting to them this time on behalf of Parliament.
Wayne asked the question everyone wants to know: “what’s the secret to staying married 65 years?”
“You have to give in,” replied Marion.
“You do have to give in, for sure you do,” said Hugo.
“We do have a lot of the same interests and come from the same sort of background,” Marion added.
They both grew up in rural communities with farming families, and Hugo said that although neither family had much money, they were able to make it work.
Stetski pointed out how they are a true testament to not only long-lasting love, but also good health. The two get out hiking at least three times a week, including that very day.
“We know every trail, it took us one hour [this morning] and then to McDonalds for coffee.”
Although their hiking group might gripe that Hugo is outgunning them and leading the pack all the time, they were all happy to celebrate with them and marvelled when Hugo announced that they were actually celebrating their 65th anniversary as a surprise.