Auntie knows best: Quincy couple married for 60 years keep the faith
With a mix of humor and humility, attraction and a tractor, Merle and Wilma Royer keep writing their love story, now well into its 61st chapter.
The Quincy couple, married for 60 years, came from far away to meet in Quincy: Wilma from Idaho, and Merle from Colorado.
The year was 1955, and Merle attended the same church as Wilma’s aunt Bernice, who years later confessed to have had ulterior motives when she introduced them.
“My aunt had Merle picked out for me before I got here,” said Wilma, who had moved west to Quincy a few months earlier.
It took a while, both Merle and Wilma said, but eventually both realized that Auntie was right. They dated, got engaged, and Merle told Wilma that the wisest thing would be to wait so they could save some money. She agreed.
Then he went out and bought a tractor.
“And we still have that tractor,” said Wilma with a laugh, who added that an ability to laugh is essential in a long marriage.
The purchase delayed the nuptials a year, she said.
“Boy, is she in trouble,” Merle said when he heard his spouse share the tale, later adding, “But she told you the truth.”
“It’s lasted 60 years, so it was worth waiting a while to be sure it was going to be OK,” he said.
The Royers have three daughters and one son, Quincy City Council member Andrew Royer, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Aunt Bernice died at 93 last year and never gloated about her matchmaking, but she always seemed pleased that things had worked out, Wilma said, crediting putting God first and each other second as a reason for the sturdy union.
Merle and Wilma worked together for more than 50 years, first on a farm, then in a hardware store, and never seemed to tire of each other’s company. Merle, 88, said he likes his wife’s sense of humor, while Wilma, 81, said she likes that her husband is a hard-working, God-loving, unselfish man.
They never seemed to tire of Quincy, either, having lived in town for 63 years and counting.
“We really like it here,” she said.
When a truck hit Merle in the late 1990s, the community just rallied around the family, Wilma said.
“We are so thankful for our lives here in Quincy,” she said, calling this an amazing community. “We are so thankful for having each other at this time of our lives.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org