CONNEAUTVILLE — It's hard to imagine many things lasting for six decades, but for Randall and Nancy Gruber, their marriage has managed to withstand the test of time.
The couple, who live at Rolling Fields Eldercare Community in Conneautville, celebrated their 60th anniversary earlier this year. The tale of how the two ended up together since 1960 is a strange one.
When the Grubers first met in Atlantic, Randall was initially engaged to another girl. However, after Nancy took Randall to her high school senior prom, he decided she was "the one." A few months after their first meeting, Randall decided to call off his wedding to his fiancée and sought to marry Nancy instead.
However, the couple then were faced with the challenge of finding a church to marry them. Randall couldn't ask his own pastor since he had already asked him to perform his previously planned marriage.
Eventually, a pastor at an Atlantic Presbyterian church agreed to marry them, and so they were wed on July 22, 1960. The two would remain active members in the congregation and later help found Atlantic Community Church after the Presbyterian church burned down.
Throughout the years, the couple have lived fulfilling lives. For a while, they would visit a hunting camp in Adamsville every weekend for four or five years, even though they never really used it for hunting. In fact, Randall has never even owned a gun, nor shown interest in fishing.
Later on, the couple would take up water skiing, becoming frequent visitors on the waterways of Conneaut Lake.
"We had so much fun water skiing there that way," Nancy said.
Nancy said she had a big rule when it came to water skiing: "Never get your hair wet." That was sometimes difficult when Randall would quickly turn the boat while he was at the controls.
Randall, meanwhile, frequently enjoyed trying to find new and different things to ski on, including an antique wooden ironing board, a sheet of plywood cut in a circle, a tractor tire and more.
When not working at Greenville Steel Car Co., Randall would frequently help out his neighbors, usually offering to cut their lawns. His willingness to help is one of the things Nancy most loves about her husband.
"He always went around helping people," Nancy said.
Nancy mostly worked as a stay-at-home mother, taking care of the couple's two daughters, Joanne and Kris. However, she did work as a plant manager at Sperry Farms for 20 years.
Now the couple enjoys their twilight years together at Rolling Fields, though they are currently staying in different rooms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout their relationship, Nancy said she and Randall never fought or had any other relationship issues, letting their marriage stay strong.
"We've had a good life together," she said.
Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some of the information from this story was supplied by Heritage Ministries, which manages Rolling Fields Eldercare Community.