Lynne and Dave Markham know more than most about marriage.
The couple’s wedding was in Vancouver on Nov. 20, 1954, so they have been married for 68 years.
Daughter Catherine, who was adopted by the Markhams when she was just 10 days old, spoke to the Observer about her parents and what she believes has kept their marriage and their family strong.
“Our family was very close,” she said. “Doing everything together.”
Her dad, who worked at BC Rail, was either working or arranging camping adventures. Her mom worked at Scotia Bank.
“They were very adventurous, which in turn made the kids very brave; we could do anything we wanted to,” she said, explaining she and her siblings grew up confident with no doubt they could take on challenges.
Catherine was the youngest child in the family, with two older brothers, Gary and Rob. The oldest, Gary, passed away in 2014 from cancer.
When Catherine was 13, the whole family hiked the rugged West Coast Trail. That was just one of many camping adventures, most involving hiking and fishing.
“The fact we did everything together, going on adventures all the time, it was the glue. We had a lot of fun.”
Her dad was self-taught and would build everything, she said, even constructing an addition to the house. If you could name it, he would build it. He retired from the railway at 49 and went to upholstery school, reupholstering furniture until just a couple of years ago.
Her mom was a Girl Guide leader, so Catherine went through the Guiding program. She said her mom was always very active, making sure she attended all the sports activities like soccer and baseball games. As she ages, she remains young at heart.
As Dave and Lynne grew older, they would go to Mexico for the winters.
Now 87 and 86 respectively, they stick much closer to home. They have lived in Sunnybrae since 2007. Catherine, who moved from Los Angeles to be with them, said it’s a great community for them, where everyone has dogs and people are neighbourly. Although physical activity is much tougher than it once was, they have a double-sided scooter so can motor around together.
Along with Rob and Catherine, the Markhams now have seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren and a beloved dog, Roxy.
Catherine calls her parents – the people who gave her such a wonderful home – her angels.
Last year even the late Queen Elizabeth II recognized the significance of the couple’s enduring marriage, sending them a letter of congratulations.
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