PRINCETON — Ralph and Roberta Patty will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Sunday, Feb. 15.
The two were married many years ago, but seeing the two interact today, it’s obvious the love is still as fresh as the day they met.
It was around 1944. Ralph happened to be in Princeton as he was traveling from place to place working on the railroad. Roberta was taking it easy with a girlfriend in Darius Miller Park on the north end of Princeton.
How she tells it ... a good lookin’ guy came walking by that day.
“He stopped to talk, and I guess we’re still talkin’,” she said.
“Well, she’s doin’ all the talkin’ and I’m doin’ the listening,” Ralph laughed. “We just hit it off that day, and we’ve been hittin’ it off ever since.”
Within a year of meeting in the park, the two decided to marry. Before a wedding, however, they had to get permission from Ralph’s parents, as he was under 21 — the legal age for men to marry back then.
The two took a trip back to Ralph’s hometown in Truro, Iowa.
It was Roberta’s first time meeting his folks, but Ralph’s parents were quick to give their blessing. They were excited for their son and enjoyed the company of their soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
Immediately after getting his parent’s consent, the two headed down to the local Lutheran church where they were united in marriage.
“There was no big wedding,” Roberta said. “There was no wedding dress. We didn’t plan on being married that day. It was just spur of the moment.”
Following their visit to Truro, Roberta returned home to tell her mother the big news, and Ralph had to go back to work on the railroad in Wisconsin.
A week later, Ralph returned with an RV which he had purchased for the two to live in while he finished up his work on the railroad. Recalling what it was like living on the road, Roberta said it was kind of fun.
“There were others that worked with (Ralph), and we did things together and really had fun times,” she said.
After about another year of living on the road, the two settled down in Galva, where they raised two sons, Dick and Tim, and one daughter, Jenine.
Jenine recalls her parents being hard-workers.
“My dad never missed going to work, and I think he instilled strong work ethic in all of us kids,” she said.
Roberta was a stay-at-home mom.
“(She) kept that 1950s home immaculate with cookies baking in the oven and a full meal on the table every single night,” she said.
After the Patty children were grown, Roberta and Ralph moved to Princeton in 1990. They wanted to be closer to the place they met years before.
In their retired lives, the two continued to enjoyed each other’s company. They went back to living on the road when they purchased another RV and traveled to Florida each winter.
They also remember the adventures that ensued when tracking down Ralph’s full genealogy, which took them on a search all around the state of Ohio in cemeteries, museums and courthouses.
Today, they don’t get out as much as they used to, but very much enjoy the company of their children, along with their four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
As the two recently reflected back on their time together, they said it was great marriage, and there are no doubts between them that the love is still there.
“I haven’t regretted it for one second,” Ralph said.
Roberta agreed. “Yep, We’ve had a great marriage.”
“Yea, she usually just gets her way,” Ralph added.
“Isn’t that the why it’s supposed to be?,” Roberta laughed.
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