To observe Valentine’s Day, the News Journal spoke with three local couples married at least 50 years. They shared their thoughts about what, for them, are keys for a long marriage together.
The married couples are Clarence and Marge Groves, Harley and Penny Doss, and Harold and Sharon Leasher.
Clarence and Marge Groves
Less than a year after meeting each other through a mutual friend and going on their first date to Coney Island in Cincinnati, Clarence and Marge Groves married on March 5, 1955, and have enjoyed raising their six kids, going to Hawaii together, and starting up their own business with Pennant Moldings at Routes 22 & 3 near Sabina.
The company, which was one of the appliance component manufacturers in the region, started in 1969 when Clarence started to notice that his previous job wasn’t fulfilling that.
“We noticed a niche in this market that wasn’t filled,” said Marge, “and he noticed that the company he was working for was becoming a conglomerate and was heading in.”
They then packed up and moved from Cincinnati to Clinton County, where they opened up Pennant outside of Sabina, where it stands to this day.
When it came to the tough times, whether it was handling five teenagers or battling health issues, Marge said that a strong unified family is what helped them.
“We’re very proud of how our kids and grandkids turned out, and we’re sure our great-grandchildren will do great as well,” said Marge.
The secret, she said, to keeping their marriage strong through these 62 years is communication.
“If you’re angry about something, talk it out until you come to some kind of agreement,” said Marge.
Harley and Penny Doss
A 54-year journey together started on Jan. 12, 1963 for Harley and Penny Doss. The two met each other around Sardinia, Ohio when Penny was visiting a cousin and Harley was working for his grandfather on a farm.
“We always try to be a team,” said Penny when recalling their long history together — whether it was working at UDF or Kroger together, or it was enjoying their favorite activities like camping or going to the flea market.
But she said the one thing that helped keep them together was a strong faith in God.
“Our faith in God has us open our hearts,” they said. “Praying and going to church has really helped us out.”
Their recommendation for staying together, they simply said, is “don’t go to bed angry.”
Harold and Sharon Leasher
Harold and Sharon first saw one another at a laundromat in New Vienna.
“I told my mother, I’d like to see her again,” recalled Harold, who remembers his mother saying that was not likely.
But when he enrolled at Martinsville High School, she was a student there.
Sharon also remembers first crossing paths at the laundromat.
“Well, I thought he was nice looking,” she said.
For dates, they would go to the movies in Wilmington or hang around with friends, Sharon added.
They knew each other for about three years before they got married on March 4, 1966 in a preacher’s country home in the New Vienna area, said Harold. He was 18 and she was 16.
After they were married, he worked as a farmhand at three or four dfarms, and enjoyed dealing with the livestock. Factory work, including the Randall Company in Wilmington, would be a source of income during their marriage, too.
The secret to their 50-plus years of marriage?
“Just get along, I guess. We’ve had our ups and downs,” Harold said. “I’ve enjoyed my marriage with her.”
Sharon’s recommendation or key to a long marriage is “you got to work at it.”
The couple has three children.
Harold and Sharon live in the Clinton County village of Midland. She works at Walmart and he works at Wilmington College.