MCCOOK, Neb. — For most people, 70 years is a long time. For Ellis Sutton, 91, of McCook, it's not long enough.
"I've had a great life with that sweetheart," he says of his wife, Ruth, 87. The couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Nov. 28.
Although both were from the rural Stratton, Nebraska, area, their paths had never crossed as kids. Ellis was working on the family farm, prohibited from joining the military as his four brothers were already enlisted. Ruth was living in an apartment in town with a couple of other farm girls, finishing up high school.
One Sunday afternoon, Ellis was killing time at a filling station until the movie house opened. The owner of the station urged Ellis to ask one of the girls who was living in town to go with him to the movies.
It was Ruth Petsch who answered the door, Ellis said, and agreed to go with him. "I must not have looked that bad," he laughed.
They married in 1942, after dating for nearly a year. Ellis worked on the family farm while Ruth taught school. "I wanted to do so much for Ruthie, everything just fell into place," Ellis said.
Together, they had one daughter, Barbara, who Ellis said "made our family complete."
Later, they moved to the Palisade, Nebraska, area, where Ellis raised cattle and crops and Ruth taught school. Ruth continued her education at the Kearney State Teacher's College (Now the University of Nebraska - Kearney) and taught in Culbertson, Nebraska, until retiring.
Nowadays, they live in their home in McCook and take life one day at a time. The secret to a long marriage, according to Ellis, is forgiveness and "don't try to hurt each other."
Apparently, they learned that early in their marriage. Although there were never any big arguments between the two, Ellis said, there was that one quarrel about 60 years ago. Ellis came home late one night and Ruth was not pleased with his condition. Even today, the memory brings a smile to her face.
After all these years, the attentiveness between the two is almost palpable, as shown when Ellis brings a roll over to Ruth and she smiles up at him.
"I love him, he's been a wonderful husband," she said. "I think I'll keep him."
Information from: McCook Daily Gazette, http://www.mccookgazette.com
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