Valentine's Day will be extra special for Lantern Hill residents Kathleen and Edward Ryan this year as they just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in January. According to the U.S. Census, only 6 percent of married couples have been married for more than 50 years.
So what is their secret to a long and happy marriage?
"You really both have to give over 100 percent," said Kathleen. She also credits their faith for keeping the marriage strong.
More than 60 years ago, they met at a dance at the Dignas Social Club on Staten Island. Edward, who had just come out of the Army after the Korean War, went to the party with a group of friends. Kathleen was with her friends at another table.
"Our table had a pitcher of beer," said Kathleen, laughing. "They said 'Look at those girls over there drinking beer, we're all drinking soda!'"
Edward and Kathleen hit it off and started dating. A year later, Edward proposed to Kathleen and on January 26, 1957, the two were married. They settled in Staten Island, and Edward went on to have a successful career as a CPA and partner at J.H. Whitney & Company, a venture capital firm in New York City.
Six decades later, the couple has eight children and 27 grandchildren.
In 2016, they moved to Lantern Hill Retirement Community in New Providence, New Jersey, after living in Scotch Plains for more than 20 years. The Ryans are enjoying the maintenance-free lifestyle as well as the many activities and amenities on campus. As an added bonus, their daughter Gerri Madsen is a concierge at the community and can easily pop into their apartment home to say hello.
"My parents are great role models of faith and family," said Gerri. "We are so blessed to have them in our lives."
To celebrate their Diamond anniversary, Kathleen and Edward had a family gathering at a local restaurant with their eight children and their spouses. They plan to have a nice dinner for Valentine's Day next week.
Lantern Hill is a distinctive senior living community by Erickson Living, a leading developer of continuing care retirement communities. The scenic 20-acre campus is located in New Providence, New Jersey, approximately 30 miles west of New York City. The independent living community provides a vibrant lifestyle to seniors with abundant amenities including three on-site restaurants, an all-season pool and fitness center, Art Studio, Library, theater, transportation, on-site medical center, 24-hour concierge services and secure underground parking. For more information, visit www.lanternhillcommunity.com.