Two White Rock nonagenarians celebrated a love that is standing the test of time last Friday, marking their 70th wedding anniversary.
Alexander and Shirley Dalgleish (née Bockus) celebrated the milestone with family and friends at Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care Aug. 23.
Daughter-in-law Gail Dalgleish said the two longtime lovebirds – both 94 – enjoyed cake and music at the ice cream social held at the retirement residence.
And despite the seven decades of married life, Gail noted that their love is as strong as ever.
“Their love hasn’t faded. Through the ups and downs, the good and the bad times, they’ve loved each other,” she said.
While Gail and husband Steve – the eldest of the four Dalgleish children – can not recall the story of how the two met, the family has almost every other memory meticulously recorded by Shirley, who kept love letters, photos and announcements from the day they were married on Aug. 25, 1943 to the birth of each child and so forth.
“They have quite a rich history,” Gail said.
While Shirley lived in White Rock from an early age – and was crowned May Queen in 1930 at the age of 12 – Alexander lived in East Vancouver.
The two met in war time when Alexander was a pilot officer, later marrying at Buchanan Church in Vancouver.
Shortly after, Alexander was stationed in Lethbridge, then Gander, before eventually being sent off overseas to Dover to fly in raids over Europe, leaving behind his pregnant wife.
With her husband off to fight in the war, Shirley moved in with her in-laws and gave birth to baby number one.
Throughout the tumultuous time, the two would keep in contact through love letters pledging their devotion.
“One of the things that gave me a lot of insight into how profound their love was are the letters,” she said.
“Their longing for each other was evident in the letters they wrote for each other and the fact that he came home safely so they could spend the rest of their lives together was a gift they thanked God for every day and never took lightly.”
After all four of their children were grown and had moved out to start families of their own, the Dalgelishs moved back to Shirley’s hometown of White Rock, where they have lived for the last 30 years.
The duo spent countless hours in their community and were highly involved in St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Meals on Wheels and even a seniors drop-in centre they organized.
Alexander also hosted a local cable program on Shaw dedicated to seniors issues.
While the two have slowed down in the community work, they still make time for each other, Gail noted.
“They always held hands, they still do. And they kiss each other as often as possible,” she said. “In this day and age, I think it’s a unique love story. So many people give up – and I won’t say it was always roses when they were together – but they always took the time to work it out.”