The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

February 14, 2014

Clinton couple married nearly 70 years

CLINTON — Recalling the memories of childhood can often be a difficult task for some people, but for Sam McKenrick, the memories of his days as a young boy are vivid images in his mind.

At 5 years old, Sam would help his grandfather, a carpenter, build and sand wooden chests, earning a nickel for his hard work. When he was finished in the shop, Sam would use that nickel to buy ice cream cones for his childhood friend, Evelyn.

Little did he know at the time that Evelyn would eventually become the love of his life, mother of his children and someone he would grow old with.

"We've known each other since we were old enough to know anybody," Sam said.

It seems the suave Sam and his ice cream offerings worked because in October, Sam and Evelyn will celebrate a marriage that has lasted 69 years.

And while a marriage spanning nearly seven decades is an accomplishment in itself, Sam says it wasn't always easy, but 60-plus years of anything seldom is.

As he told stories of his life with Evelyn, who sat affectionately at his side, Sam explained that while their marriage withstood the test of time, not every day was roses and rainbows.

He recalled one recent story in particular where he ended up with a large, red impression along the right side of his face.

"Last week I had a big red streak down the side of my face that I didn't even know I had," explained Sam, as he struggled to hold back his laughter. "Somebody said, 'what's that red mark?' and I said well, I was talking and Evelyn told me to shut up and I didn't hear her."

That jovial and sometimes humorous attitude toward each another is one way the two have stayed together for all these years. Escaping reality to enjoy each other's company during family vacations was another way for them to keep the flame burning.

Even shortly after the two had been married in October 1945 at the Great Lakes naval training station near North Chicago, Ill., they spent the month of January in Padre Island, Texas, to celebrate a honeymoon that was delayed by Sam's service in the United States Marine Corps.

It was actually soon after Sam had returned from overseas during his tour with the Marine Corps that the two were married at the naval base.

"I came home from overseas and the train came into LaSalle Street Station," recalled Sam. "My buddies and I started walking up the platform and one of them said, 'look at that lady standing over there,' and the other one said, 'looks like she's waiting for somebody.' I said 'she is — me.'"

Sam and Evelyn then rode the train back to the Great Lakes naval training station and were married not long after. Sam also added the only time during his career with the Marine Corps that he went absent without official leave was during the six nights after the two were married because of their separation at the base.

"She lived on one side of the Great Lakes and I lived on the other," he said. "I wasn't supposed to be over there but I got kind of an unofficial OK to go ahead."

Despite the challenges of their lives together and the squabbles that can often clutter a marriage, Sam's affection for his beloved wife was evident as he recalled the memories they created together, none more prevalent than raising their three children in their country home in Camanche.

And as the children grew and eventually flew the coop to other parts of the country, Sam did what he could to remind Evelyn of the love he had for her, often sending flowers as small tokens of his appreciation.

Those little mementos of love were one way Sam protected the long-lasting marriage that he and Evelyn built for themselves, but he added that the biggest advice he could pass along to young couples looking to emulate that accomplishment is that of a simple nature: "You have to love each other and trust each other. It's a game of give and take. And if you're a man you've got to learn to listen to your wife."

And while Evelyn didn't disagree with Sam's advice, she did add that the old stand by of winning a man's heart through his stomach still holds true.

Her suggestion to a young wife: "cook better than I did."

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Fist bump photo Study: Fist bumps less germy than handshakes

    When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, maybe the president is on to something with his fondness for fist bumps.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Indiana sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clinton judge hears motion to suppress in drug case

    District Court Judge Stuart Werling will consider a motion of suppression against a warrant that led to the arrest of a Clinton man on drug charges.

    July 30, 2014

  • David Johnson Clinton grad, NDSU picked to lead MVC

     David Johnson, the former Clinton High standout now entering his senior season at the University of Northern Iowa, was named to the preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team that was announced Tuesday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • School supplies offered at events

    With students going back to school soon, Clinton families will have two opportunities to receive free back-to-school supplies.

    July 30, 2014

  • Showboat follies Iafrate set to leave Showboat Theatre

    As the summer season nears its end, the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre on Tuesday honored the past and said hello to the future.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sidewinders photo Debating decibels: Finally Fridays, Showboat at odds over concert volume

    Two events will take center stage at the riverfront Friday. And if it’s anything like the last time these entities shared the same evening, both crowds may want to take note of the decibel levels coming from the bandshell.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video