San Luis Obispo couple has been married for 75 years, and it's no surprise to them

August 22, 2012 

In the scheme of things, a couple that manages to hang in there to celebrate a 75th wedding anniversary may be as rare as winning the lottery. That’s just a guess, though, because nobody accurately tracks the odds of such longevity for spouses, although estimates predict just 1.2 percent of the world’s population will make it to their 65th wedding anniversary.

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LaVerne Bucy and Lurline Eldridge married Aug. 28, 1937, in Murray, Ky.

As such, the Bucys of San Luis Obispo are within a week of celebrating their 75th anniversary. The event is so exceptional that there’s some debate as to what gemstone or precious metal should mark the milestone. Gold? Diamond? How about both of those?

So what’s the secret? LaVerne is now 95 and Lurline is 92. What guiding and abiding elixir of life have they been sipping in amassing such an amazing number of years together? The short answer, according to La-Verne, who still plays a round of golf at Morro Bay every other week: “We promised till death do us part.”

A longer answer may include having Methuselah genes, a lifelong love of travel and education, and a shared faith.

The couple met in high school.

The Bucy farm was located within the Tennessee Valley Project, which uprooted LaVerne but led to him attending Murray State University and the University of Kentucky. After that, he taught high school for three years before being drafted in the middle of the year along with two senior boys. After the Navy, LaVerne attended the University of Illinois, where he earned a doctorate in three years.

LaVerne was then hired by Cal Poly in the late 1950s as a professor in the Animal Science Department, a position that led to a two-year university stint in Swaziland, Africa, working on a U.S. aid project.

As soon as the couple came to San Luis Obispo, Lurline enrolled in the old community college, which was located at the time on the former junior high school campus. She later transferred to Cal Poly, where she earned her teaching degree, and then went on to teach at Hawthorne, Teach and Pacheco elementary schools in the San Luis Coastal district.

As one might imagine, there have been sorrows that have accompanied their joys. A son, Gerald, died while a student in veterinary medicine at UC Davis.

His widow, Michele Toone, is a San Luis Obispo girl who gave the Bucys their first grandchild, Erin Berard. Both Michele and Erin remain close family members.

The Bucys’ daughter, Mary French, and son-in-law, James French, a retired professor at Rutgers University, have blessed them with two grandchildren, Ernie and Emily, and two great grandchildren, Landry and Finley Chang.

In their post-retirement motor home travels, the Bucys have gone on 80 trips, mostly with Michele’s parents, Marj and Harm Toone. The couple’s love of travel has included extensive jaunts in five continents.

In the final tally, says Mary, her mom and dad are simply “good Kentucky people. Long marriages run among their siblings. It hasn’t been a marriage where they felt they had to stick it out. They married young but knew how to keep their vows, act maturely and have fun together.”

“Give God credit,” for their marital longevity, says LaVerne. “We have done the best we could, enjoyed life wherever we’ve lived, so we’ve been very happy together.”

Could winning the lottery offer longer-lasting satisfaction than that?

Bill Morem can be reached at bmorem@thetribunenews.com or at 781-7852.

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