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Last updated on Thursday, May 2, 2013
(LINTON) - The Linton couple recited their respective “I do” 70 years ago on April 30, 1943 at a Presbyterian church in Fort Wayne.
Nick Schneider of the Greene County Daily World reports that on that day, Arnold and Mary each vowed to be husband and wife to have each other "from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish from this day forward until death do us part."
They've managed to stay true to that promise.
The 92-year-old Arnold and 90-year-old Mary can still smile at each other like wide-eyed, love-struck teens when they talk about their courtship, wedding, raising a family, welcoming grandchildren into their clan, and now enjoying their retirement years together.
Arnold said the secret to the couple's long successful marriage is simple.
"You marry the right person," he said. "That person has to be able to accept the faults of each other. We've got plenty of faults, both of us."
Mary acknowledged that the couple has been married a long time and when asked about the secret to the matrimony longevity, she paused, smiled and said, "What comes to mind is knowing when to talk and know when the time to get your point across."
The couple raised four daughters -- Karen Wallem of Huntingburg, Pam Guyton of Broad Ripple near Indianapolis, Debby Poole of Linton, and Jan Engle of Dugger. A fifth daughter, Cathy, died at one month of a heart ailment.
All of their daughters are college graduates -- a strict, non-compromising requirement of their parents.
Daughter Debbie noted, "I think the biggest thing they've done for us (children) was making sure we went to college."
Arnold said, "I don't care what you learn (or study), but you are going to college."
Debbie is a retired teacher at White River Valley Lyons Elementary School, Jan was also a teacher and worked as a librarian at Union High School in Dugger, Karen was a nurse, and Pam worked as a dental hygienist.
The couple has six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
"We like to brag about our kids and grandkids," Arnold noted.
Both Arnold and Mary grew up in the northern Indiana. Arnold is a native of Fort Wayne and Mary hails from Wabash.
The two met in church, where Arnold became infatuated with his future bride when he watched her play the piano before Sunday School class.
His sister suggested that he get acquainted with Mary.
It wasn't long after that the couple went on their first date to Celina Lake in Ohio.
The two had first planned to travel to the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis on their first date, but a "polio scare" caused them to opt for the trip to the lake, Mary said.
Arnold was 20 and Mary was 17 and still in high school.
"We took a little trip over to the lake in Ohio," Mary said.
Arnold quickly interrupted with a big smile, "I took her out of state."
The couple was married two years later.
"My parents were very strict. Us daughters didn't get to go out alone on a date with a boy until we were seniors in high school," Mary remembered.
Arnold, who is a four-time bladder cancer survivor, started out his career in the General Electric apprentice school in Fort Wayne as a toolmaker. He worked on turbo superchargers for fighter jets and large jet airplanes.
His work there earned him five, six-month military deferments, but with World War II heating up, the government's policy changed and anyone under the age of 27 was required to either sign up or be drafted.
Arnold signed up for the U.S. Navy and served domestically for 22 months in Pensacola, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Engles came to Linton when the old General Electric plant opened in 1952.
"They transferred 22 of us down to get the plant going," Arnold recalled. "They sent me down here as the tool room foreman. I've been here ever since."
Before he retired, Arnold became the company's manufacturing specialist, who wrote the budget appropriations for the factory.
In their retirement years, the Engles still enjoy spending time together, watching television, talking and attending Saron United Church of Christ in Linton.
Arnold pretty much makes the channel choices -- liking to watch Fox News and The Weather Channel the best.
"She (Mary) doesn't pick out stuff to watch. She just goes along with what I watch," he said with a boyish giggle.
Mary has generally always been what Cathy referred to as the "chief cook and bottle washer" -- working as a housewife.
She's an excellent cook and seamstress.
Arnold likes to tinker in his wood shop and stays busy fixing up a variety of things that need repaired around the house.
"I've never had to take anything to somebody else to fix," Arnold proudly proclaimed.
Daughter Karen says her dad has always been good with his hands and is a good craftsman.
"He built the (old) house they lived in, he's built a camping trailer, he added a garage on and a sun room to the other house they lived in," Karen said. "He's just always worked on stuff. Still, anytime something is broken, bring it home and Dad will fix it."
Debbie pointed out that her Dad invented the "Christmas tree stand that rotates."
It was never patented, but he installed a GE motor on the tree stand and it slowly went in circles without the wires getting tangled much to the amazement of friends who have visited their home during the holiday season.
"He's always been a good Daddy, who was always fixing all of our toys and other things that broke," Karen added.
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