BELPRE - For Dean and Jewel Holbert of Belpre, the days since their marriage on Sept. 6, 1964 have been filled with memories of working, raising a family and enjoying several common interests.
"I met him through his sister," Jewel said. "I moved over here (to Belpre) in 1962 and I was friends with his sister and he was in Korea. He came home on leave and I met him."
Dean said their courtship was a whirlwind courtship.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Jewel and Dean Holbert were married in 1964. They said part of the secret to their long marriage is in having many common interests.
"We met and we were engaged three weeks later and we were married four months later," he said.
Jewel said after the engagement he was gone, back to Fort Riley, Kansas. Dean said the engagement was not a typical engagement.
"I said if I buy you a ring will you wear it," he said.
"We were sitting on a swing on his parents porch when he asked me," she said. "I don't remember anything before that and I don't remember anything after that. I remember him asking if he bought a ring would I wear it and I said yes; we had known each other three weeks."
They planned to get married around Christmas of 1964 but they decided to move the date up to September.
"He said he was so lonely so we got married Sept. 6," she said.
Jewel said they lived in Kansas for 13 months.
"Our honeymoon was traveling back to Kansas," she said. "We got to St. Louis when the work on the Gateway Arch started and we went back for a visit and it was nearing completion and we went back there again when it was done. We saw it being built."
After Dean was discharged in October 1965 they moved back to the Mid-Ohio Valley and lived in Belpre while he worked at Marbon Chemical and stayed there until 1999 when he took early retirement from GE Plastics.
Jewel worked at the Bureau of the Public Debt and left there after they were married. After their two sons, Jon and Christopher, got in high school she returned to the work force when she took a job at Peoples Bank.
"He got his early retirement and we took our second jobs," she said. "We run campgrounds."
They said their first assignment was at Yellowstone Park and since then they have been sent to campgrounds from Erie, Pa., to Elkins, W.Va., to Cherokee, N.C. For the past six years they have worked at Hocking Hills State Park.
"From April to November we live in our camper," he said. "We are officially retiring from that this year."
"We love to camp," she said. "We've done this as volunteers and have been paid. We decided at 70 we would retire.
"We built a new home two years ago and we haven't hardly lived in it, so we thought now we could enjoy it."
When they are at home, they don't stay home, traveling to Florida and Missouri.
They are members of Porterfield Baptist Church and joined the Belpre Senior Citizens Center after they retired.
Jewel said their 50 years do not feel like they have been together that long.
"It just goes so fast," she said.
"Part of it is we like the same things," he said. "We both love to camp, crossword puzzles and gardening; we used to bowl and western square dance."
They both said they have never been apart.
"When we lived in Kansas it was just us, so we had to rely on each other," she said. "I think that has a lot to do with it. For us it's till death do us part."
"If it gets hard you just tough it out," he said.
"Marriage isn't easy," she said. "You have to work at it. It's a lot of give and take."