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Jack and Eleanor McChesney celebrate 70 years together

Jack and Eleanor McChesney just celebrated 70 years of marriage. They were married on June 22, 1952 when Eleanor was only 17.  Jack was in the Air Force so they moved a couple times.  After he left the Air Force Jack obtained his bachelor’s degree.  After having four kids, Eleanor obtained her bachelor’s degree but kept going, receiving two master’s degrees as well.

To mark the anniversary, we asked them about their time together, including their advice for the rest of us.

1. What’s your favorite memory of your marriage?

Having four kids together, two of each.  Best moments were when each of them was born.

2. What was the biggest argument you’ve gotten into?

Money issues, but with any argument we would talk it through.

3. What was your favorite date/vacation together?

Took a camper and drove to Alaska in 2003. Just Jack, Eleanor and the dog.

4. If you could relive one day of the last 70 years, which one would it be and why?

Wedding day

5. What is your favorite thing about each other?

Jack loves that Eleanor is always so forgiving.

Eleanor loves that Jack has never been afraid to apologize when he is in the wrong.

6. What is the best piece of advice you can give to the younger generation on how to make a marriage last?

Be patient with each other, it is sometimes hard to do but will help you persevere.

Always be honest and open with each other as well when it comes to decisions.  

Never go to bed angry either.

What their children saw during the past 70 years

Vicki Streit (daughter)

For myself, I think the thing that stands out the most to me is mom and dad's incredible generosity. I'm sure they don't see it themselves because it's just what they do, but they have always been willing to help out just about anyone. I remember them saying many times that they had lots of help when they were just starting their lives together, so their intent had always been to pay that forward and they have done that many times over.  

I recall a time when a neighbor's car wouldn't run and I don't think they either had the money to repair it or it was going to be in the shop for a while being repaired - mom and dad had two cars, so they loaned one of the cars to the neighbor, even though it did inconvenience them. I also remember when my mother-in-law was still living and living independently in Clay Center. She was no longer able to drive, so mom and dad would always call her when they were going to the grocery store to see if she needed anything. In their minds, I'm sure they didn't think this was a big deal, but to the folks on the receiving end of it, it was huge!  

Pat Obourn (daughter)

We used to laugh that Mom was the home-economics teacher, but Dad was the cook. Although they were both excellent cooks, it seemed like Dad was always coming up with something new and different-sometimes he made it up, but often they were recipes he found while looking through magazines as he waited for a haircut at the barber shop (yes, he used to have enough hair to need to have it cut once in a while.)

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