These days, it’s no longer as common to see couples celebrating decades-long marriages, but here in the Santa Clarita Valley, three local couples are defying the odds.
Last month when David and Lynne Lyerla celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, they were joined by two other longtime local couples, Elliot and Irene Oseas, and Bill and Royce Ann Stadler, who also celebrated their 60th wedding anniversaries this year.
Meeting their soulmates
David and Lynne Lyerla met in junior high school and were friends for years before they became a couple.
“Our brothers were very good friends, and we were very good friends, too,” Lynne said, with David adding that it was only after he returned from the Navy that the pair started dating.
On Aug. 26, 1961, they were married and moved to Santa Clarita when Lynne got a teaching job in the area.
Elliot and Irene Oseas, on the other hand, had what Irene described as a “fast romance,” only knowing each other about half a year before getting married.
“In fact, we had our first date after we were married,” Irene added chuckling, noting that Elliot was in the Air Force. “He wrote to me several times … and he asked me to be the mother of his kids, so I wrote back, ‘I accept your proposal.’”
“He’s my soulmate, what can I tell you,” Irene added.
The couple married on Jan. 22, 1961, and moved back to California after Elliot left the service.
Meanwhile, Bill and Royce Ann Stadler met through their families, as Royce Ann’s aunt and uncle were living in an apartment owned by Bill’s parents.
They got married on Aug. 5, 1961, and moved to the SCV when Bill got his first teaching job in Saugus.
Each couple raised their families in the SCV: The Lyerlas have two children, eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild and another on the way; the Oseas have four children and four grandchildren; and the Stadlers have three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
It was through teaching that the Lyerlas and Stadlers met, while the Oseas were the Lyerlas’ neighbors.
“We’ve been friends for close to 53, 54 years,” Royce Ann said of their friendship with the Lyerlas.
“We really helped each other out when our kids were very young,” Irene said of their friendship, adding that while Lynne would help her kids with English, Irene would help babysit.
The Oseas and Lyerlas stayed connected through the years, hosting family swim parties, couples dinners, and playing cards and board games, Irene added.
It was the Lyerlas who brought the three couples together, Royce Ann said, noting that she met the Oseas at the Lyerlas’ 50th wedding anniversary, which was when they all discovered their anniversaries fell so close together.
Last month, all three couples were able to celebrate their anniversaries together at the Lyerlas’ party, excited to share their past histories with one another.
“We celebrated outside in our backyard, and it was a wonderful evening,” Lyerla said. “Everybody had a great time.”
Learning from experience
As each couple celebrated 60 years together and reflected on their lives together, they shared some of the reasons they’ve been together this long and prospered.
“Nobody ever said it was going to be easy or that every day is going to be perfect,” Royce Ann said. “I think you just have to learn to go with the flow … (and) don’t give up.”
Lynne said she and David have similar interests, such as reading and traveling, which helps to keep them enjoying time with one another.
“(And we know) we just have to agree to disagree sometimes,” Lynne’s other half David added.
Similarly, the Oseas are lucky enough to think alike, and whatever issues they have, they work through together, helping each other along the way.
“We’re a good pair,” Irene said, adding that her advice to other couples would be not to go to bed upset with one another. “Straighten it out if there’s a problem.”