Gladys and Gilbert with their daughter, Karen at the Wamego City Park train
WAMEGO, Kan. (WIBW) -- Gladys and Gilbert Wille started dating in their senior year of high school and it was the start of a forever love.
"My next door neighbor was dating his cousin and that’s how we met," Gladys said.
"You might say we met on a blind date," Gilbert added.
Now, Gilbert is 103 and Gladys is 99 but their love has only grown with them. The couple just celebrated their 79th wedding anniversary and their romance is still going strong.
"It doesn’t seem like 79 years," Gladys said.
"The only bad part about that 79 years is that we cannot be together," Gilbert added.
Gladys and Gilbert now live in separate facilities in Wamego due to some health problems but they see each other as much as they can- content just to be together.
"Spending 79 years together is a long time for us but for them, it seems to have gone by so fast and because they don’t get to live together anymore, he comes to visit 2-3 times a week and you can see the love between them when they see each other. Her eyes light up every time he walks in and it’s just love story that the rest of us appreciate and hope we can have some day," said Cheyenne George, the administrator at Good Samaritan Society Valley Vista, the nursing facility where Gladys is staying. Gilbert lives in an assisted living facility nearby.
The couple was happy to share some of their secrets to such a long and happy marriage.
"Always be kind to your partner. If you get mad, walk away. Don’t fight," Gilbert said.
He also encourages other couples to be smart with their money and save as much as possible so that they're secure in their golden years.
Gilbert and Gladys say having a strong church community played a huge part in their lives and contributed to their happiness. Gladys played the organ in their church for many years and Gilbert worked in the Wamego City Park and gave rides on its famous train to many children.
They have two children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, decades of memories together and an unwavering devotion to one another.
It's a love that has stood the test of time.