BRACEBRIDGE - Seventy years into marriage Fred Doty said he’s still not sure what the secret to its success is.
Fred and Gen Doty celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary surrounded by friends at the Pines on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
At 93 years old, Fred and his 94-year-old wife Gen still seem blissfully happy despite the things old age brings. At a party thrown in their honour on Wednesday, Oct. 24, with his wife looking at him admiringly, Fred relived the day he first saw Gen.
He first set his eyes on his future wife while he was going to school for engineering in Toronto in 1938.
“One day I looked across the road and there was this cute little girl, about 120 pounds, slim as a rake, pillbox on her head, a big smile on her face and all that stuff, and I thought, ‘Boy she’s a nice-looking girl,’” Fred said.
The only problem was she already had a boyfriend.
“I started looking forward to seeing this gal and guy going down the road,” he said.
During that time he asked another woman on a date who asked if she could bring a friend. That friend was Gen. Fred couldn’t remember much about the woman he asked for the date, but he’s lived 70 years of history with Gen.
Fred laughed when he asked what the secret to the longevity of their marriage is. He said the good genes and good health were passed on to them, and he didn’t have a real answer.
“I think it’s just we’ve had a lot of happiness and not too much strain and I think sailing has been a good thing, it’s not frustrating like golf is,” he said.
The Dotys bought their first sailboat for $200 at a yacht club in Toronto after they tired of travelling the city on their bicycles. Sailing then became a part of their life, including a trip to the Bahamas after they retired.
Susan Coon, the Dotys’ daughter, said communication was key in their marriage.
“Before mom got dementia, they just talked all the time,” she said.
She said they also lived life to the fullest, had lots of friends, stayed busy all the time, and focused on the positive things in life instead of the negative.
Before the celebratory group clanked their glasses of ginger ale in a toast to the happy couple, Bracebridge councillor Mark Quemby presented the Dotys with three plaques, one from the town of Bracebridge, one from Norm Miller and the province, and one from Tony Clement and the federal government
The celebration at the Pines also lauded Marg and Bert Peake, who have been married for 66 years.
Peake joked that he’s still in his marriage because his wife won’t let go of him.
“As soon as I got out of the Navy, came from the West Coast, came back, got off the train, and she was right there ready to grab me, and hasn’t let go since,” he said.
They’d known each other for about five years.
“I just got lucky, I got the right one,” he said.