Rusty, 87, and Jody, 82, Stalnaker
Married Nov. 11, 2006 -- five years
Their marriage is a second for both after they lost spouses. They were friends as couples and families, whose children knew each other and attended church together for 34 years.
"He knew exactly what he was getting, and I knew what I was getting," Jody said.
"Being by yourself is not much fun, and I'm not a cook. I didn't have the good sense to learn to cook in my previous life, I'm sorry to say," Rusty said. "Loneliness is not much fun. Being together and sharing life together even at our age is very comforting."
After their spouses died, ending Rusty's marriage of 50 years and Jody's of 53, they began traveling and spending time together, and eventually decided to marry. After a visit to the West Virginia State Fair, they stopped by to visit one of her sons. They asked what his reaction to their marriage would be, and he thought it was a good idea. All their children did.
"It's worked out very well for us. We've had a good time and thoroughly enjoyed our life," Jody said.
"We're a couple of lucky old codgers," Rusty chuckled.
They apply lessons learned in their happy first marriages to their relationship today.
"We don't take things as seriously as we probably did then. Now we're at the age where there's not any point in worrying. We're lucky if we get up," Jody said. "You just look at life differently when you get older."
Their advice: "If you get the opportunity to remarry, it works out beautifully, if you've got a good man," she said.
"Both of us feel very fortunate to be able to share our senior years together," Rusty added.
Herman "Linkey," 87, and Kitty Dove Miller, 89
Married Jan. 17, 1947 -- 65 years
The Millers met when Linkey was on leave from the Navy during World War II and he visited his old school, Bramwell High School, where Kitty was teaching. He peeked in the door of her classroom and asked the teacher in the next classroom to introduce them. Kitty, who was dating someone else, said she wasn't interested -- three times. But Linkey was persistent.
"I looked through that little glass in the door and said, 'There's the girl I'm going to marry,'" he said. "That's the first thing I said about her."
"He assumed a lot," she said.
They were 22 and 24.
Was it love at first sight? "I fell head over heels in love with her when I looked through that glass. I don't know why, honey," he said as he smiled at her.
"We have always been very much in love. I wish that I hadn't gone out for a while because I fell immediately. He was still in uniform then," she said.
He persuaded her to go out with him that night and jumped right to the point.
"That night he said, 'If when I get out of the service you feel like you feel now, would you marry me?' I said we'll have to wait until you get out of the service to see because I don't want to marry a man with a woman in every port," she said.
"I didn't have a woman in every port. I missed a couple of them," he said.
After the service, he went back to college and kept asking her to marry him. He showed her his first grades, which were nine A's and three B's. Always the teacher, she told him she'd marry him if he got straight A's.
The next report was straight A's. They married and moved to Grundy, Va., where she taught school and he worked on railroad for 39 years.
Their advice: "Just love each other and be true to each other," Kitty said. "Be truthful and honest."
Ted, 80, and Evelyn, 82, Smith
Married March 3, 1950 -- 61 years
Friends since childhood, attending the same school and church, Ted asked Evelyn to marry him on her 16th birthday.
"We were walking home from church in a light mist under the umbrella. He said, 'I'm going to marry you someday.' He kissed me -- and that was my first kiss," Evelyn said.
They never dated anyone else.
They married several years later during his first year as an engineering student at WVU. "She was in Charleston and I was in Morgantown, and we decided that wasn't going to work," Ted said. "We hadn't been separated in six years," she said.
Their friends supported their decision, but their families told them they were too young to marry. Ted finished his engineering degree at the top of his class. She worked as a lab technician at the university to support them.
They've enjoyed camping vacations together. He was an Eagle Scout and accustomed to roughing it. Early on, she suggested the comfort of a cot instead of the leaky air mattresses he preferred. After a few years, she won the argument.
"You make accommodations. Whenever you get married, you have to make adjustments," he said.
Evelyn considers a support group to be crucial. They have been getting together with a group of friends from their church since 1959. "If we divorced, we would have to answer to them and they to us. There are no divorces in that gang," she said.
Their advice: "It's such a different world. Nowadays, I don't think there would be anybody who would stay with one person from 12 to 20. I don't know. It's a difficult world. For anybody to get married now and be married for 61 years, everything's against it."
"Don't die and don't get a divorce, and you'll make it," Ted quipped.
"You could have said being deeply in love with each other," she said.
"There's a lot of wisdom in sticking with what you've got rather than jumping around, then finding out after three or four jumps that it's really not that much different than the first jump," Ted said. "The problems that occur are not generally unusual. Sometimes they're unique, but in general, I think it's the idea that if things aren't going well, get rid of whatever you've got and get another one."
Harrel, 95, and Lynne, 90, Knight
Married March 3, 2007 -- five years
The Knights were featured in a 2006 Gazette article when they applied for a marriage license at ages 90 and 85. They and their first spouses were close friends for many years until both died.
"Our families were old friends," he said. The two couples were inseparable. "We knew each other from church, golf, social group and traveled together. The women were friends first, probably from church," Lynne said. They all attended First Presbyterian Church.
Loneliness after the loss of their spouses brought them together. "We were visiting here [at Edgewood Summit] on New Year's Eve and were dancing at midnight and we kissed. He said, 'Let's get married.'"
They share interests in golf, dance, travel and dining out.
Their advice: "Be realistic," Lynne said. "Have a sense of humor."
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.