Couple Says No Secret to 75 Year Marriage

TOPEKA, Kan. - An estimated 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce and even fewer couples make it to the golden 50th anniversary.

But one couple in northeast Kansas just celebrated 75 years of marriage and they told 13 News Sunday, they hope to celebrate a few anniversaries more.

Charles "John" and Edna Chapel married on December 6, 1933. But the details of how they met have faded over time.

"I think I met her through another girlfriend," said John. "I don't remember."

However the meeting happened, their daughters say it was jealousy during the courtship that led John and Edna to make a lifelong commitment.

Their daughter, Carol Gideon, remembers a story of Edna going to a dance with another man. That sealed the deal for John. "He walked right onto the dance floor and took her by the arm and took her outside," Carol remembers. "He said, 'That's it. You're mine. We're gonna get married and there's not gonna be any dances with anybody else.' And she told me from that time on there was never a dance with anybody but my dad."

After that, John had a surprise in mind for Edna.

"I don't remember the name of the town, but I was out on a gasoline truck and I stopped and got the marriage license," John said.

"Dad actually thought he was gonna surprise her by bringing a marriage license home," said Carol.

"I got home with the license and some gal in her hometown seen it in the paper," John said that friend told Edna before he could and "gave it away."

John and Edna's 75 years have been filled with business ventures, many trips, and extending their family.

"Mom started her own dress shop," said daughter, Kay Quintin. "They travelled a lot in their early years. They retired early."

The two had four kids together. As for the number of grandkids, "Oh that got clear away," John said. He turned to his daughters for a little help with the number. "How many? 34?! That scares me."

They may have lost count, but John and Edna can be sure their commitment to one another is not lost on their family.

"My mother and father would sit on the couch and snuggle and hug," remembers Carol. "There was a lot of open affection and a lotof demonstrativeness in our family."

Kay says the example her parents set for them growing up, helps in her own relationship. "I've been married a long time, too and I think the stability has helped tremendously."

"I think that they were the two most supportive people I've ever known," said Carol.

Kay and Carol say their parents made it work because they are simply a great team. "My dad is a very laid back person and I think he allowed Mom to do whatever she needed to in business and didn't try to hold her back," Kay said.

I think they worked with each other to get what they each wanted," said Carol.

John and Edna have survived seven-and-a-half decades of marriage, the deaths of two of their children - a daughter in 2000 and a son just a few years later- and edna's diagnosis with Alzheimers.

((35.15.11 edna: we don't fight. we get along and we care for everything... i don't know what more i could ask.))

When asked what the secret is to their marital success, John and Edna both responded that they don't really believe there is one. "You just got to get along," John said. The two make it sound easy. "I think it's because we love one another," Edna said.

"They've been good years. Sure have," said John. Hugging Edna close, he added, "I expect to keep her a few more years."

The longest marriage we could find on record was a Taiwanese couple married for 85 years. John said he and Edna "gotta break it."


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