Gary and Mary Campbell attended the Sweetheart Luncheon at the Mesquite United Methodist Church on Saturday Feb. 15. This was the Seventh Annual Luncheon giving special recognition to couples who have been married for over 50 years. The Campbell’s will be celebrating 68 years on June 19. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The Mesquite United Methodist Church held their Seventh Annual Fifty PLUS years of being Sweethearts Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Last year 16 couples attended the celebration, this year the number jumped up by one.

This year, 17 couples from Mesquite shared stories about first pets, apartments, cars and the early days of marriage. Things weren’t easy for most of these married couples who were all married around war times, post war and post-depression eras and military service.  For all of them, through thick and thin, for better or worse, they’ve loved each other, and their marriages have endured for over half a century.

The Mesquite United Methodist’s Seventh Annual Sweetheart luncheon, held on Feb. 15, included honored guests Mayor Allan Litman and his wife Phyllis who were married on July 25, 1965 and have been married for 54 years. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The Sweetheart luncheon included honored guests Mayor Allan Litman and his wife Phyllis who have been married 54 years; they were married on July 25, 1965. They met at a youth convention in Minneapolis, MN; they were both in high school. They had an on again off again relationship due to the distance they lived from one another until they both met up again in CA; this time for good. Two days after their wedding, Al received his draft notice and shortly thereafter was sent to Vietnam.

Tom and Joanne Bernasek also married 54 years have been together since their Junior and Senior years in high school, they’ve never been apart in all those years. Tom was an old-fashioned guy and asked Joanne’s dad for her hand in marriage.

On June 19 Gary and Mary Campbell, snowbirds from Wyoming, will be married a whopping 68 years. The couple is originally from Nebraska and met in high school; they dated all 4 years in high school have made their marriage last by determination and hard work. Gary said the couple had an agreement when they got married, Mary would care for the house and make all the minor decisions and he would make all the major decisions; in 67 years, he’s never had a major decision to make.

Sylvia and Jim Dartt were also at the luncheon, celebrating 51 years themselves. The couple met at Eastern State University in Michigan. Eastern State is a college for teachers which both had wanted to be but the Marine Corps took Jim instead and while Sylvia was a teacher, Jim spent 31 years as a Marine. Sylvia always looked at being relocated as an adventure, ready to pack up and leave at a moment’s notice. The couple had many wonderful adventures before settling in Mesquite.

The Mesquite-Toes provided entertainment. The United Methodist men sponsor the luncheon each year and the United Methodist women cooked a wonderful lunch and serve the couples.