Norman and Jeanene Pierce have been married 56 years and look forward to spending another Valentine’s Day together. After seeing Jeanene, the “girl next door” for the first time, Norman told his brother he would eventually marry her. He was right and the couple have been together ever since.

Love at first sight, 56 years later

Norman and Jeanene Pierce say their secret is doing simple, kind things for each other every day

It was love at first sight, and even now, after 56 years of marriage, Norman Pierce still vividly recalls the first time he saw Jeanene.

“I came to Canada when I was 16,” says Norman with his Irish accent. “It was 1955. I arrived with my suitcase, a motorcycle helmet, and $25.”

Norman took the train from Montreal to Vancouver. His brother picked him up and as they pulled into the driveway in North Vancouver, Norman saw Jeanene Speers, 14, the girl next door.

“She was standing on the scaffolding, her dad was building a new house. I said to my brother, ‘That’s the girl I’m going to marry.’ My brother said, ‘No way, Johnny (Jeanene’s father) will put the run on you. You won’t be allowed.’”

Norman started work the next day. He pumped gas and then he ran a backhoe, and did auto repairs. He became known throughout the area as the mechanic who was good at fixing English cars. While he was doing well career-wise, he wasn’t having any luck towards his goal of marriage.

Just as Norman’s brother predicted, the romance didn’t have an auspicious beginning.

“I went over to ask her out and her dad told me to run along,” he says laughing at the memory. “She was still in school and he wanted her to finish school.”

Jeanene liked Norman’s “cute little Irish accent and black curly hair.” He was always well dressed and that impressed her.

When the big graduation celebration came, she had a date with another guy and Norman was asked to escort one of the girls.

They double dated. When they rented boats at Harrison Hot Springs, Norman did some fancy maneuvering.

“He took that boat and Jeanene was in my boat.”

Because Norman was the only one with a car, as he was dropping off the other two, he made sure the first one out of the car was Jeanene’s date, and then his date.

“That left the two of us and the rest is history after that,” he says.

In Jeanene’s family the rule was no one could get married until they were 21, so Jeanene and Norman waited a whole two weeks after her 21st birthday to be married, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1962.

“My mom wanted me to marry a doctor or a lawyer, but a mechanic was okay when they needed their car fixed,” says Jeanene smiling at Norman.

They had two children, Mark and Dina. They moved to Silver Creek in 1974. Norman worked in construction for a while and built they house they live in, and then worked at Federated Co-op in the plywood division, fixing machines and running skinner saws for 27 years before he retired.

Jeanene, is, says Norman, in all seriousness, the light of his life. Their advice for a happy relationship is quite simple.

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” says Jeanene. Norman agrees. She always has baked treats and cooks him nice meals.

For his part, Norman always treats Jeanene on special days, never forgetting her birthday, their anniversary, or Valentine’s Day. He still opens the car door for her. They both do simple kind things for each other and their daily conversation is full of laughter and joking.

“I’m not one to argue,” says Jeanene simply, “It’s a waste of time.”

Just Posted

Tickets on sale for RCMP Musical Ride in Salmon Arm, Sicamous

Tickets for the upcoming RCMP Musical Ride are now available The world-renowned… Continue reading

Sicamous movie screening to help cause of reconciliation

High school film club bring their first socially conscious movie to town

In photos: Monashee Mountain Men Black Powder Shoot

Black powder firearms enthusiasts gathered together to test their skills at the… Continue reading

Reel Reviews: Atypical college life

We say, “Life of the Party is pleasant and harmless.”

Caravan Farm Theatre fundraiser embraces outlaw spirit

The third annual Hands Up! Live Auction Fundraisder is June 2

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Transportation Minister disappointed by BC Ferries plan to remove fuel rebates

Claire Trevena says she is ‘extremely disappointed’ by a plan by BC Ferries to remove fuel rebates

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

B.C. mom threatens legal action against sunscreen company

Caleb Jordan, 6, was covered in blisters 20 minutes after using Banana Boat sunscreen

BC Games Society president to step down

Kelly Mann says it’s time for a change after 26 years with the society

B.C. politicians framed by anonymous sticky-note doodler

Insider has been posting caricatures from the B.C. legislature to social media

27 years since initial police probe, polygamist leader to be sentenced in June

Prosecutor recommend up to 6 months jail, defence asks for conditional or absolute discharge

Governments kick in cash for B.C. farmers, food processors

Ottawa, Victoria contribute $14 million over five years to help develop new products, processes

Most Read