Sequim coupleís 73 years of love

What's the secret to a long marriage?

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:18pm
  • News

What’s the secret to a long marriage?

"Don’t try to boss her. Let her be half the boss," said Bob Allison, 91, of Sequim.

He should know. Bob and his wife, Fern, celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 15.

Their courtship was unconventional by today’s standards.

"I was only 18, still living at home," Bob said. "I went over to visit her on the horse."

They married in 1936 in Cabool, Mo.

"There wasn’t work. You couldn’t have got a job if you paid for it," said Bob. The Allisons started their married life living with her grandparents.

"I’d like to go back in that time for about a week," Bob said. He and Fern recall it as a time when neighbors cared for each other.

"When we was married, nobody got divorced. It was a disgrace."

Eventually they moved to California, where Bob found work driving school buses and maintaining them. He painted 46 buses for his district. Bob wears a school bus belt buckle.

Their back porch and shop are filled with projects and tools. He built a grandfather clock that stands in their dining room, and has made and given away many wall clocks.

Bob and Fern raised two sons who are now in their 70s. Fern has Alzheimer’s disease and Bob is no longer able to drive due to macular degeneration.

Undaunted by that limitation, Bob bought an electric scooter that seats both of them and can carry 400 pounds. On the scooter, they can travel the length of Sequim and say drivers are very courteous to them.

"I plan all the meals, do all the cooking," Bob said, and Fern agreed that he is a pretty good cook.

As for celebrating their marriage milestone, they didn’t plan a party.

"It’s happened too many times," Bob said.

They’re happy simply to enjoy one another’s company.

Contact Sandra Frykholm at

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