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Married 80 Years And They’ve Never Had An Argument

February 8, 1987

WEST KITTANNING, Pa. (AP) _ Almost 81 years after they paid 50 cents for a marriage licence and said ″I do,″ Calvin and Mina Dunmire are calmly accepting the fuss that comes with being named the nation’s longest married couple.

″There’s no secret to it. We just lived happily together,″ Dunmire, 105, explained at the couple’s southwestern Pennsylvania home, glancing at his wife, silent in her rocking chair.

″Mrs. just did the housework, and I did the outside work. That was all there was to it,″ he said Saturday. ″It wasn’t luck. We just loved each other.″

To the best of Dunmire’s recollection, he and his wife, who will soon be 101, have never had an argument since their marriage on April 24, 1906, across the Allegheny River in Kittanning.

″We just enjoy each other, that’s all,″ he said.

It’s not that they’re so much alike, said Paul Dunmire, 80, their only surviving child. It’s that they complement one another so well.

Until she suffered some strokes and he slowed down, she ran the household while he ran his lumber, natural gas and banking businesses.

Theirs is the kind of commitment Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a religion- oriented organization that sponsors marriage enrichment weekends, hoped to find in its third annual search for the nation’s longest married couple.

″Society needs to step back once a year and collectively tip our hats to people who are husband and wife and who are going through better and worse and through thick and thin,″ said Tom Gorman of San Diego. He and his wife Jeanne are this year’s national coordinators for World Marriage Day, the second Sunday of February.

″Some people say that’s what Valentine’s Day is for. But we say that’s a day for young lovers,″ he said.

The search for the nation’s longest married couple is far from official. Couples are nominated by relatives and friends as well as local Worldwide Marriage Encounter groups, and the organization doesn’t verify marriage dates.

The longest marriage on record, between cousins who married in 1853 at age 5 in India, lasted 86 years, according to the 1987 ″Guinness Book of World Records.″

With 82 years and three months of marriage, last year’s winners, Oliver and Cora Lee Glenn of Elmore, Ala., are still technically the nation’s longest living married couple, according to Worldwide Marriage Encounter. But the Gormans and other organizers decided that rather than honor the couple again, it would be better to spread the glory.

Mrs. Glenn, who turns 100 on Valentine’s Day, and her 100-year-old husband still are reeling from the reaction to last year’s announcement. For months strangers showed up at the Merry Wood Lodge nursing home, hoping to talk to the couple and pose for pictures.

″We’d ask, ‘Are you relatives?’ No. ‘Are you long-time friends?’ No. You just don’t take anybody in to see a 100-year-old,″ explained Jean Walker, activity director at the home.

″Mrs. Glenn finally said, ‘I’m going to take the battery out of my hearing aid,’ ″ she added.

The Dunmires would just as soon do without that commotion. They enjoy the quiet, orderly lives they lead with their full-time housekeeper and a cat, Andy.

And besides, Dunmire doesn’t have the time.

″I’ve got office work to do here, gas meters to read,″ he said. ″That keeps me busy, especially at the end of the month.″

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