Local couple celebrates 70 years

SALEM- A local couple will mark a rare milestone Dec. 1- 70 years of marriage.

Robert and Laura (Wack) Biery will be honored at an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. today, Nov. 29, at the Bunker Hill United Methodist Church. The couple is asking for no gifts.

Having both grown up in the Goshen Township area- Robert on state Route 14 west of Middletown Road and Laura in Patmos- they said they essentially grew up together, riding the bus and dating while attending Goshen High School.

“(She) was extremely sweet back then,” Robert said, quickly adding with a laugh how sweet she still is.

Two years older than Laura, Robert, a 1943 graduate, was drafted into the Navy in 1944. Laura graduated in 1945 and the two were married later that year while Robert was living in Washington D.C. while serving the country, exchanging vows on Dec. 1, 1945 in the Holy Spirit Chapel of the Washington National Cathedral in the nation’s capital.

They returned to the area upon Robert’s discharge in 1946 and have resided and worked here ever since, raising five sons, Richard (Randy), John (Barb), Jeff (Karen), Chuck (Denise) and Ted; with nine grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, the majority of which live within 5 or 6 miles of the couple. Robert made his career as a laborer while Laura was a housewife. Laura is also the longest-tenured living member of Bunker Hill United Methodist Church and was active in her children’s lives, volunteering in school, 4-H and little league sports.

Now 90 and 88, the Bierys can reflect on a lifetime together, sharing laughs and love through thick and thin.

“You’ve got to keep a sense of humor,” Laura said while joking back and forth with Robert. “A sense of humor and respect.”

The couple also noted the need to make a commitment in order to maintain a strong marriage.

“Back then you took your vows seriously,” Laura explained in response to why the couple’s marriage survived. “(What one loves in a spouse) is not something you think a lot about, it’s just there. You make a commitment and you do it.”

Robert said he loves Laura’s cooking, though, adding more seriously that he cherishes her companionship.

With 70 years under their belt, Robert and Laura said marriage is a give and take relationship, and emphasized the old saying “never go to bed angry.”

But a faith centered marriage is the most important aspect of a longlasting relationship, Laura noted.

“Faith is the biggest part,” she said. “It’s always been the center of our marriage. Today marriages aren’t rooted in the church and don’t have anything to fall back on in the hard times.”

Their advice to young couples- it is all about the commitment.

“If you’re not ready to make a commitment, don’t get married,” they said.