RIVERVIEW – It was 1943. The U.S. military had just grappled control of Guadalcanal from Japan and the Western Allies were in the process of invading Sicily, when destiny brought Joyce and Marion Siegler together on a street corner in Detroit.
Joyce was a fresh-faced, 18-year-old enjoying a rare shopping trip with friends. Marion, 22, looking dapper in his Army Air Corps uniform, was exploring the city with some service buddies.
“We just bumped into each other on a street corner, and the rest is history,” Marion Siegler said. “We started talking and made a date. Six months later we were married.”
On Feb. 21 at the Hacienda Heights Mobile Home Park in Riverview, the Sieglers – surrounded by family and friends – celebrated the lifelong commitment they made 70 years ago.
Life wasn’t always easy for the couple, recalled their son, Jarret, who traveled from Kalamazoo, Mich., with his wife, Tresa, to help his parents celebrate their anniversary.
“There were hard times. But like other members of the Greatest Generation, they always had a can-do, never-give-up spirit,” he told the crowd gathered at the Hacienda Heights clubhouse. “One of my father’s favorite sayings was ‘Can’t never did anything.’ They worked hard and they instilled these qualities in me and my sister.”
Despite some tough economic times, Jarret Siegler said his home was always filled with warmth and charity.
“Mom was always there with a hot meal if someone needed one,” he said. “She’d just add a few more beans to the pot. She was always an example of love and grace.
“Although she worked outside the home, mom loved to cook and entertain others,” he said. “She was always quick to host a card game or a dinner party.”
And Marion Siegler would never hesitate to head out on a cold night if a neighbor needed help fixing a furnace or show up at his son’s house to help him talk through a problem.
Now, at ages 88 and 92, respectively, Joyce and Marion Siegler have more time to indulge their desire to serve others. They still love to entertain, and it’s not unusual to find boxes of food stacked in the living room of their Hacienda Heights home, ready to be delivered to a mission for the needy in Tampa.
Today, the couple divide their time between their homes in Michigan and Riverview. After retiring in 1985, they purchased a winter home at Rice Creek Mobile Home Park in Riverview, where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and then relocated to Hacienda Heights.
The couple are now in the process of selling their home in Michigan so they can live in Riverview year round.
“They were always great examples for me. I learned from them what it takes to have a great marriage,” said Jarret Seigler, who has been wed to his wife for 36 years.
His mother said the secret isn’t to expect wedding bliss.
“There will be ups and downs,” she said. “But the key is to have patience and stick together through good and bad.”
D’Ann Lawrence White is a freelance writer who can reached at [email protected]