Love and marriage go together when people celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14.
Vernon and Eileen Cox of Prairie Echo celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last November and know how to keep that special love in a marriage strong and healthy.
Not too many couples reach that milestone of a platinum anniversary.
“We’ve both had pretty good health and the family is close,” says Vernon, who turned 89 years young last Dec. 18.
“The family has helped us make it through, for us to get along with everyone,” says Eileen, who reaches 89 this March 19.
Still living in their home they built in 1974, the Coxes appreciate the time their children and extended family reach out in love.
“We use to take care of them, now they help take care of us,” Vernon says.
“We have helped each other financially.”
Together, the couple parented eight children: Dennis, Linda Behiels, Donald, Wendy Cox, Sheila Cox, Arthur, Kevin, and Carla Cox.
“We both had to work hard to look after them,” Vernon says.
From that, the family has grown to 19 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Vernon is the son of Roy and Verda Cox of High Prairie, and Eileen the daughter of C.C (Cyril) and Mabel Porter.
They were married Nov. 27, 1945 in Edmonton in McDougall United Church with Vern’s mother Verda, Eileen’s brother George and some neighbours from Prairie Echo.
“We had a small celebration,” Eileen says.
They didn’t want anything too fancy.
“We just wanted a quiet wedding,” Vernon says.
“We were married in the rectory.”
Their love relationship started when the two families became neighbours about a half-mile apart in Prairie Echo.
“We met in 1944 after my sister Lily, myself and my father moved into the community of Prairie Echo,” Eileen writes in the family history in the High Prairie area history book Trails We Blazed Together published in 1997.
“My dad, a teacher, had been transferred from the Guy School to Prairie Echo School.
“The Cox family were the first people we met when we came into the district.
“They helped us move our belongings into the little teacherage near the school.
“During our courting days, Vern made many trips on his horse Flicka to visit me.”
That’s when the special love was sparked.
“After I saw him, I fell in love with him,” Eileen says.
“We enjoyed each other and that’s why we became good friends.”
They courted for about two years, he says.
“I saw a woman who would be a good wife,” Vernon says.
Like any marriage, the Coxes have experienced good and bad times and stayed together in support as a couple and family.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” Vernon says.
In 1951, the government dredged the East Prairie River and West Prairie River.
“It flooded us out,” Vernon says.
While employment was never a problem for Vernon, with cattle farming and driving truck, his wife
Eileen worked at Pleasantview Lodge in High Prairie for 17 starting in 1975.
“We were quite hard up at the time,” Eileen says.
Both of them have been quite active to help out their neighbours and serve in St. Mark’s Anglican Parish in High Prairie.