Springfield Township couple shares secrets to 71 years of marriage

John A. Pavoncello
York Dispatch

A Springfield Township couple celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary got a warm surprise with a visit from their children and a meal delivered by Cracker Barrel.

Mary and Wayne Gaugler were married at the young age of 17 and 21, respectively, after dating for about a year in 1949. 

The pair met while Wayne was working on a farm neighboring Mary's home in Selinsgrove. When asked about memories from her wedding day, Mary exclaimed, "That's a long time ago!" 

The couple has five children, 12 grandchildren and "about 30" great-grandchildren, Mary said. Their children gathered in the couple's small living room, where a hospital bed for Wayne takes up part of the space. The family sang "Happy Anniversary" to the couple before pulling dinner from the oven, where it was being kept warm.

When asked what the secret to 71 year of marriage is, Mary responded "just stay together."

Wayne added, "We like a lot of the same things, which helps a lot."

The anniversary celebration was planned by the couple's daughter Tena Geesey and Heartland Hospice, which is providing care for Wayne.  

"We weren't expecting to have a big day," Mary said as the family prepared to eat dinner.

Wayne was happy with the Cracker Barrel ham — "the big dinner was a surprise," he said.