Wilf and Alta Schneider will soon be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. (Carrie O’Neill photo)

North Okanagan couple proof of lasting love

Heaton Place residents celebrating 70 years of marriage

Some things have stood the test of time; love is one of them.

Wilf and Alta Schneider committed to spending all their tomorrows together on Aug. 26, 1950.

The two were married in Armstrong at the United Church nearly 70 years ago, and then off to the reception at the old Legion where 50 of their closest friends and family would celebrate their special day.

Backing up a bit, Wilf was born in Davison, Sask., on Sept. 9, 1926.

A series of moves took place from Saskatchewan to Alberta to British Columbia, where the family would eventually land in Lumby.

There, Wilf worked in the logging industry.

Throughout his life, he had a variety of careers. One of them awarded him the Youngest Blasting Ticket, while employed at Pioneer Mines in Lillooet.

Wilf was an outdoors kind of guy and most of his working career involved being outside.

His first job after school was working in a pole yard where he was earning 35 cents an hour.

Logging wasn’t always in the cards for Wilf. He joined the Merchant Navy in 1945 and headed off to Australia for a short stint. His mates called him “Spudbarber.”

When he was 22 years old, he headed back north to find his soul mate. And that he did.

Alta was born on Nov. 28, 1927, in Oliver. Her family moved to Armstrong and had a dairy farm on Pleasant Valley Road.

After graduating in 1945, Alta went to Victoria to attend Normal School for teachers. (Apparently, that was what it was called back then.)

Her heart’s work was teaching, and she would go on to teach for many years.

Her first teaching job was in Grand Forks where she taught Grade 4. One year she had 56 children in her class.

She eventually moved to Fraser Lake to continue her career.

While in Fraser Lake, she was boarding with a family.

The big thing in town was to meet the new teacher. The people she boarded with would screen the men coming through and when Wilf crossed the threshold, her sense was ‘this one is a good one.’

Over the next year, there would be dances and movies and lots of courting.

When Wilf was asked did you know she was the one, his replied: “I couldn’t help it.”

“She made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” joked Wilf.

The two fell in love, and Wilf asked Alta to spend her life with him.

Seventy years later, after three children, work and travel, Wilf and Alta are now cozily nestled in at Heaton Place Retirement Residence.

Heaton Place’s resident relations co-ordinator Carrie O’Neill said the two are always seen smiling and talking.

“When they told me they have never once had a fight, I had to fight the tears,” O’Neill said.

The best marriage advice they had ever received was from the minister that married them: ‘Someday you’re going to get angry, just don’t get angry at the same time.’

Wilf and Alta will celebrate Valentine’s Day with a nice dinner out this year.

They truly are a shining example of love’s longevity.

Carrie O’Neill is the resident relations co-ordinator at Heaton Place in Armstrong. These are the stories of its residents.

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