Local couple celebrates 60 years of marriage
Chance meeting at a dance in Louisiana leads to lifetime together for owners of Del's Jewelry
Steamboat Springs — The year was 1942. The event was a dance in a church hall in Alexandria, La.
They knew the night they met that they were meant for each other.
“I took a shine to her, and I told the other GIs with me, ‘That little gal, I’m going to marry her,'” Del Delhaute said Friday. “Just like that.”
Marie “Decie” Delhaute felt the same way, but she was engaged to another man.
“After I met him and we went out for a while, then I knew I wasn’t in love with the other man,” Marie said.
“I wrote him a Dear John letter, which I hated to do, but love was love,” she said.
The Delhautes will celebrate 60 years of marriage today at Holy Name Catholic Church, where family, friends and anyone from the community who wants to help them commemorate the special occasion will gather.
A Mass is at 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception at 6:30 p.m.
Marie still remembers the night they met because there was such a great attraction, she said.
But Del’s Army service in Africa and France meant the lovers had to correspond by mail for more than three years. Marie waited patiently.
“If I did it again, I’d marry him sooner,” she said. “He’s my king.”
They were married March 3, 1946.
Two weeks later, the couple moved to Steamboat Springs, where Del accepted a job in a jewelry store.
He bought the store a year later.
The couple has worked side by side in that store — Del’s Jewelry on Lincoln Avenue — for all 60 years of their marriage.
Del and Marie said respect is the secret to a successful marriage.
“It’s a give-and-take situation where you got to have love and you got to have respect,” Del said.
“The connection is still solid, probably more solid then it was at the beginning. We hardly knew each other when we got married,” he said.
Marie agreed that their love grew deeper over the years.
“But respect comes before love, and we do respect one another,” she said.
Del said he has three favorite things about his wife.
“She’s beautiful and she’s positive and she’s genuine,” he said.
“She’s a gem,” he said.
Marie said what she loves most about Del is seeing him walking toward her.
“It still makes my heart jump,” she said.
Their six children, who were born and raised in Steamboat, can’t believe their parents are still in love after all these years.
“But we are,” Marie said. “I just hope we have many more (anniversaries) together, because he’s a great man to live with.”
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In an effort to make Steamboat Springs Transit buses safer and more accessible, solar-powered lighting in bus shelters and a GPS-triggered automatic voice system that will announce stops in English and Spanish are being implemented.