Seniors Hiking
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we often find ourselves surrounded by tales of enduring love. Few stories, however, match the remarkable journey of Jack and Melba, a couple celebrating an incredible 66 years of marriage, soon to be 67 in June 2024.

Their love story is a testament to commitment, faith, and a bond that has only grown stronger as they experience life together.

From their beginnings in first grade

As Melba started to share memories of dating, Jack interjected, “Well let’s go back go first grade!”

Jack and Melba’s love story started in a quaint country school in Harper, Oregon. First grade classmates, they remained together through third grade until Melba’s family moved to Willow Creek, Oregon.

Despite the distance, their families stayed connected. Fate intervened when, as adults, they reconnected at a church service in Boise, Idaho, where Melba was living at the time. Jack was visiting his siter who lived in Boise, and this brought the two together once again. Jack drove Melba home from church that day, reigniting a connection that would last a lifetime.

Love strengthened by faith

Both devout Christians, Jack in Moses Lake, Washington and Melba in Boise, their love transcended physical distances. The lovebirds communicated by mail, as long-distance calls were expensive. They were engaged in January and married later that same year on June 22, 1957.

Their faith foundation is an important part of their relationship, just as much today as it was then.

“Our faith has been a center of our life,” Melba shared. “That has stayed with us through our marriage.”

Traveling the US together

Jack and Melba longed to travel, and they made this dream a reality once their kids were grown. They joined a Christian group called the Sojourners. The couple moved to Marshall, Texas where Jack worked as a groundskeeper and Melba a secretary.

One of Melba’s treasured memories from their travels was when they parked their fifth wheel in Deleno Bay, Washington with a beautiful view of Mt. Rainer. While there, they worked with the Sojourners at the campgrounds and helped with what the people needed.

The adventurous couple spent seven months traveling across 30 states. One of Jack’s favorite stops was Monticello, Utah with views of the Rockies.

“That has always been impressed on me,” Jack shared.

Cherishing the journey

Reflecting on what they love most about each other now, Jack humorously remarks, “Where else am I going to live?” He then emphasized the importance of commitment. “When we got married, we said till death do us part,” he shared.

Jack encourages younger couples, “Get married for the duration.”

“I don’t know what I would do without her,” he says of his wife.

Melba echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of commitment, working through challenges, and taking care of each other.

“Go into it with the idea that we’re going to make it work,” she shared. “We do what we can to take care of each other.”

And their life certainly wasn’t without challenges. Jack and Melba tragically lost their oldest son Steve in May 2023. The couple relied on their strong love, faith, and family as they mourned their loss. They also have two other sons, Ron and their youngest Tim.

They are so proud of their sons, sharing how much they enjoyed watching them in sports and plays growing up, and watching them through their successful careers as adults.

Laughter through the years

Amidst the beautiful memories, there’s also room for laughter. Melba remembered a moment when their son Steve dumped clothes into the hamper and remarked, “Here’s your dinner!”

Another funny memory they share was with their dog Queenie, who earned the nickname “Queenie the flying dog” by running so fast to welcome Melba and the boys home that she flew down the stairs and landed in Jack’s lap while he was sleeping.

66 years of love

After 66 years of love and counting, Melba lovingly describes Jack as “my best friend, my rock,” while Jack reciprocates with “my wonderful mate.” Their words encapsulate the deep connection and companionship that has sustained them throughout the years.

The couple now resides at Avamere at Bethany in Beaverton, Oregon, Jack now 88 and Melba at 89. They reflect on the support they’ve provided each other through life and the many places they’ve lived together. “We like it here,” Jack stated about Avamere.

Celebrating love

As we celebrate love this Valentine’s Day, Jack and Melba’s journey stands as a remarkable example of enduring love, commitment, and the joy that comes from a life shared with a beloved partner. May their story inspire and remind us all of the beauty that can blossom when love is nurtured over a lifetime.