The Petersens celebrate 60 years of love

John, 82, and Doreen, 84, Petersen celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday April 28.

An unplanned visit to a friend’s family home led to a beautiful love story with the couple now celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

John, 82, and Doreen, 84, Petersen celebrated their anniversary on Thursday April 28. Their love story started in Woodstock. Mr Petersen said he met the love of his life through his niece’s boyfriend.

“Doreen’s cousin dated my niece. He used to visit my niece at our home. One day, he asked me to go with him to their place. When I got there, I saw Doreen sitting in the kitchen. I asked him if she had a boyfriend. The next day I went there on my own and introduced myself to Doreen. I asked her parents permission to date her. I remember our first date – we went to the Gem Theatre in Woodstock. From there we were inseparable,” Mr Petersen said.

Instead of a big 21st birthday party, Mr Petersen opted to propose marriage to his great love.

“My father asked me what I wanted for my 21st. I told him I want to buy an engagement ring to ask for her hand in marriage. Nine months later we got married at St Phillip’s Church in Woodstock.”

The couple moved from Woodstock to Lansdowne, and then to Bonteheuwel. Later, they bought a property in Newfields, where they lived for 37 years. Now they live in Wetton, but still attend the Church of the Resurrection in Bonteheuwel. Mr Petersen is a lay minister at the church. Not only does this couple pray together, they also worked at the same factory for many years – Mr Petersen as a clerk and Ms Petersen as a machinist.

In 2016, Ms Petersen had a major stroke, which affected her speech and memory. Mr Petersen has been lovingly caring for his wife ever since.

Because of her speech difficulty, all Ms Petersen could say during the interview with the Athlone News was “I love him”.

The pair agree that their love for one another grew over the years. Mr Petersen said they owe their successful marriage to God.

“We took our vows seriously, because we made those promises not just to ourselves, but to God as well. God has been good to us all these years.”

They do not have any children, and Mr Petersen believes this was all part of God’s plan for them.