On May 17, 1944, Harry and Velma Smith got married. Over 75 years later, they are still married. Last May marked their 75th anniversary and the couple is still going strong. Remnants of that day sit nestled in a box that captures the feelings between them with a quiet power. Today, they live in Unity Township and continue their trend of respect and love.
Their whole life after that is like something from a fairytale, TribLIVE reports. Of course, everyone has their ups and downs. But it’s a true testament to the strength of love that two souls can overcome each obstacle together. Then, they emerge from the other side stronger as individuals and as husband and wife. A box contains important mementos from their wedding day, including pieces of Velma’s dress and veil. It’s clear the sentiments reflected in Harry’s note, “The wedding dress of the most beautiful bride in the world — ‘Velma,’” along with the lyrics, “Honey, I love you,” are still potent.
Fate brought Velma and Harry Smith together
Perhaps it’s a cliched concept, but when a couple ends up being in love for so long like these two, it really feels like it must have been meant to be. Their mutual friend, Betty Strobel, set them up on a blind date of sorts. Though, Strobel did receive some resistance at first. “No way, I didn’t want a blind date,” Velma insisted. Eventually, however, she got her way. They started seeing each other. “Well, we dated then and we’re still dating,” Harry stated.
Indeed, Harry and Velma Smith never stopped seeing each other even if World War II put geographic distance between them. Harry enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh’s ROTC program. Originally, he had been studying engineering. She, meanwhile, attended nursing school at Allegheny Valley Hospital. Eventually, Harry found himself in North Carolina while Velma worked as a registered nurse. Everyone knew they had fallen in love, so when they spoke of marriage, Harry’s mother helped buy a ring for him to propose with. Their wedding was itself a rushed affair, as Harry used the short leave-of-absence he was granted to marry the woman of his dreams.
Distance made no difference for the Unity couple
Both of their parents gave them $20, and so they started a new life together with $40 between them. Their marriage came to include a lot of moving around, both together and separately. Harry was actually overseas when Velma gave birth to their son and that was a particularly troubling period for the Smith family. “It was an anxious time. I knew where I was, but she didn’t know where I was.” Eventually, though, he returned to the U.S. after the war ended and took up work using his engineering background. It sent both Harry and Velma Smith – now with Harry III – moving around a lot.
Over the years, their family grew exponentially. Their children include Harry III, Tom, Patty, and Becky. They were followed by eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Harry and Velma Smith represent a lot of amazing accomplishments. They are two people who flourished in their careers, devoted themselves completely to family, and stand out against the sobering statistics surrounding couple separation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 6% of couples make it to a 50th anniversary, against the odds of divorce or death. To accomplish this, the Unity couple set some ground rules. “We sort of decided we would never go to sleep angry, so we stayed up pretty late sometimes straightening things out,” Velma explained.