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State Winners for 2014 Longest Married Couple Project Announced by Worldwide Marriage Encounter
Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, 321-544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net 

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Feb. 7, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- The 2014 state winners of the annual Longest Married Couple Project, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith based marriage enrichment program in this country, were announced today.

"We are truly excited and amazed at the number of couples married 70 years or more and we are particularly impressed that six of the couples taking the state honors each have over 80 years of marriage," explained Ron and Judy Pekny, the United States Leadership Team for WWME. The Peknys serve with Fr. Rocky Grimard as the U.S. Leadership Team.

"There were hundreds of nominations submitted," the Peknys explained, adding, "Among the winners there are many couples with over 70 years of marriage and also quite a few with 60 plus years of marriage. That truly is a testament to having a commitment to a long marriage!"

The 2014 longest married couple in the United States, based on the nominations submitted, is Harold & Edna Owings of Burbank, CA. They are married over 82 years having made their marriage vows on Nov. 24, 1931. The Peknys will be traveling to Mr. & Mrs. Owings’ hometown on Feb. 14th to personally honor them at a special ceremony.

As in previous years of the four year old project, individual state winners will be recognized and honored by couples involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter over the Valentine's week and weekend.

Winners of the project are automatically made members of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Longest Married Couple Project Alumni group. Couples cannot succeed themselves each year as either national or state winners, thus giving an opportunity to honor other longest married couples across the country.

The Peknys also pointed out that the project is based on nominations received from October 15th the previous year to January 10th of the current year.  "We realize there could be couples married longer, but we did not receive their nominations from friends or family during the nominating period," they said.  They also pointed out that there were no nominations from three states.

The list of the 2014 state winners and their hometowns and wedding dates are as follows:

Alabama – Aubrey & Delora Stewart                         80 years
Dadeville, AL
Feb. 27, 1933

Alaska – David & Aleen Fison                                  70 years
Anchorage, AK
July 31, 1943

Arizona – Nicholas & Doris Johns                             75 years
Sun City West, AZ
August 26, 1938

Arkansas – Sam & Katherine Ross                            70 years
Cabot, AR
June 8, 1943

California – James & Rejane Mason                           70 years 
Carlsbad, CA
Sept. 18, 1943

Colorado – Jesse & Muriel Wright                             73 years 
Littleton, CO
August 2, 1940

Connecticut – Gottfreid & Lucille Weingart                76 years
New Hartford, CT
January 1, 1938

Delaware – Horace, Jr. & Mary Lou Sherrill                 69 years
Wilmington, DE
March 2, 1944

Florida – Juan & Dulce Rondon                                67 years 
Hialeah, FL
December 9, 1946

Georgia – Howard & Irma Nichols                             68 years  
Young Harris, GA
June 1, 1945

Hawaii – Angelino & Eva Ronquilio                            78 years 
Aiea, HI
August 18, 1934

Illinois – Sol & Frances Deutsch                               74 years 
Highland Park, IL
Feb. 12, 1939

Indiana – Edwin & Dorothy Boknecht                        65 years
Fort Wayne, IN
June 26, 1948

Iowa – Alvin & Eula Blankenship                               78 years
Council Bluffs, IA 
June 12, 1935

Kansas – Dale & Alice Rockey                                  80 years  
Olathe, KS
December 29, 1933

Louisiana – Raphael & Nora Guidry                            70 years
Opelousas, LA
December 19, 1943

Maine – Maynard & Phyllis McIntyre                          68 years
Caribou, ME
November 10, 1945

Maryland – Sadanala & Lily John                              75 years
Laurel, MD
December 14, 1938

Massachusetts – Adrian & Lorraine LaPointe               69 years 
Westfield, MA
June 25, 1944

Michigan – Clarence & Lavern Shumaker                    70 years 
Byron Center, MI
February 12, 1943

Minnesota – Ervin & Verna Kaduce                            75 years
Mapleton, MN
November 17, 1938

Mississippi – Ted and Markie Perkins                          70 years
D’Iberville, MS
August 16, 1943

Missouri – Ed & Ila Tenny                                       73 years
Lee's Summit, MO
January 8, 1941

Montana – Clifford & Bessie Johnson                         71 years 
Great Falls, MT
October 1, 1942

Nebraska – Paul & Dorothy Naprstek                         75 years
Creighton, NE
November 3, 1938

Nevada – Lynn & Evelyn Lillie                                   75 years
Carson City, NV
October 15, 1938

New Hampshire – Eugene & Doris Cook                      71 years
Boscowen, NH
January 30, 1942

New Jersey – Harvey & Dot Rimbach                         72 years 
Mahwah, NJ
June 24, 1941

New Mexico – Arturo & Estella Estrada                      71 years
Lordsburg, NM
August 5, 1942

New York – Ernest & Helene Cochrane                       80 years  
Bay Shore, NY
November 29, 1933

North Carolina – Robert & Adele Blank                       70 years
Weaverville, NC
November 10, 1943

North Dakota – Kasper & Josephine Heidt                  70 years
New England, ND
June 20, 1943

Ohio – Don & Alice Hughes                                      74 years 
Vaughnsville, OH
October 18, 1939

Oklahoma – Eual & Rose McCrite                              70 years
Oklahoma City, OK
November 17, 1943

Oregon – Erling & Helen Haraldsen                            70 years
Salem, OR
July 31, 1943

Pennsylvania – Alton & Elsie Lehman                         76 years 
Ligonier, PA
September 18, 1937

Rhode Island – Harold & Alice St. John, Jr.                 59 years
Cranston, RI
November 6, 1954

South Carolina – John & Anita Folsom                       73 years
Greenville, SC
October 17, 1941

South Dakota – Otto & Anna Mueller                        78 years
Bowdle, SD
February 11, 1935

Tennessee – Edgar & Elsie Alley                               72 years 
Church Hill, TN
December 19, 1941

Texas – Ralph & Mary Lou Riggs                               80 years 
Willis, TX
November 4, 1933

Utah – Howard & Eileen Gemperline                          60 years
Delta, UT
July 4, 1953

Vermont – Lawrence & Beatrice Gerlack                    68 years
South Burlington, VT
January 1, 1945

Virginia – Arthur and Lillian Bickmeyer                       59 years 
Gainesville, VA
February 20, 1954

Washington – Archie & Sylvia Bowman                      62 years
Spokane Valley, WA
January 14, 1951

Wisconsin – Ted & Alice Rortvedt                             81 years
Deforest, WI
May 9, 1932

Wyoming – Ed & Jeri NeVille                                    80 years
Byron, WY
November 25, 1933

Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 45 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at facilities where the couples return to their homes in the evenings. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world.  In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends online go to wwme.org or contact the WWME Office at (909) 863-9963.