It’s an age-old question asked of many couples who go the distance: What’s the secret to a long, happy life together? Perhaps the people best qualified to answer that question are Dan and Bertha Paveilck, who celebrated their 79th wedding anniversary on Wednesday.
“Should we tell them what our secret is?” Bertha asked her husband during their anniversary celebration in Leduc.
“We have a secret?” Dan joked back.
Bertha, 99, and Dan, 106, met in the small town of Fulda, Sask., east of Saskatoon.
“We met on a dance floor,” Bertha said. “I thought he was a married man.”
Lucky for Bertha, Dan was single and the two hit it off. They married in Humboldt, Sask. on Oct. 25, 1938.
“It was a beautiful day,” Bertha said. “The sun was shining, it was just gorgeous. I could be outside in my gown and my veil, not even needing a jacket.”
It didn’t take long for them to start a family.
“Once they got married, they went right to work and I was born 10 months later. I’m 78,” their eldest son Don Pavelick said with a laugh.
Watch below: Dan and Bertha Pavelick joined the Global Edmonton Morning News in 2013, just ahead of their 75th wedding anniversary
The couple had two other children and now have seven grandchildren. They moved to Edmonton in 2002. Don credits his mother’s delicious, healthy cooking and his father’s musical influence for their longevity.
“Their minds are still crystal clear, both of them, and that’s really provided me an opportunity to get to know them so well,” he said. “It’s been a real honour for me.”
While they’ve been through ups and downs over the past 79 years, Bertha said the past year has been the hardest. The couple lost their daughter to cancer last year and Dan moved into a senior’s home. He’s been in hospital in Leduc for the past month-and-a-half.
“Having my mate leave home… never to return, that’s tough,” Bertha said, but added you can’t dwell on the negative things in life.
“It’s been a wonderful 79 years.”
The one thing Dan insisted on when he moved to the Leduc Hospital last month was to make it to his 79th anniversary. With a glass of scotch in his hand, he gave his wife a kiss, a bouquet of roses and a card. Inside the card, read this message:
“Just want you to know that you’re still the one I would choose. Still the one I give my heart to, still the one I love.”
So, what’s their secret?
“To support one another, whatever the problems may be, good or bad. Stick together. That’s about it,” Bertha said.
“You know why this lasted 79 years? She has the last word,” Dan added with a smile.