Marriages require unceasing, dedicated commitment and hard work. Especially when striving to maintain a loving regard, keep day-to-day communication open and keep the sense of caring fresh and warm.
Be they unions of five years or 65, these anniversaries are times to celebrate with the principal players who've survived - together - while dealing with all of life's challenges.
With that in mind, three related Valley couples had the granddaddy of all parties when they jointly celebrated 165 years of marriage: Charles and June Day Edwards, with 65 years, and the parents of Dr. Jim Edwards; Herb and Anna May Radke Waters, 60 years, parents of Vicky Waters Edwards; and Dr. Jim and Vicky Edwards, 40 years.
The couples observed their shared accomplishment with friends and family on Aug. 20 in the Fellowship Hall at Walla Walla University Church.
Charles and June wed on Aug. 4, 1946, in the Andrews University College Chapel on the campus where they met in Michigan. At the time, he was director of and she sang in the church choir. Charles has been a pastor, just like his father, Lowell. He's served in Indiana, Tennessee and Massachusetts. He was an evangelist, camp pastor and youth director, including in Northern California Conference where he later served as health and public relations director.
In 1990, he came to pastor the Wenatchee church. In 2001, he and June moved to College Place. He served as chaplain at Walla Walla General Hospital with Walt Meske.
June was a secretary in several Adventist conferences and in doctors' offices. She is highly reputed for the meals she prepares. The Edwardses are now retired. In addition to son Jim, their other son, Bob, lives in Martinez, Calif. They have four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Herb and Anna May married in the Walla Walla City Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Nov. 11, 1951. Back then, they probably didn't realize their 60th anniversary would land on 11-11-11. They were freshmen at Gem State Academy in Caldwell, Idaho, when they met. They reconnected when Anna May came to work at Walla Walla College.
Herb worked at Harris Pine Mills and in farming before learning the construction trade when they lived in Moses Lake. They also lived in Pendleton, Rice, Wash., Moscow, Idaho, Battle Ground, Wash., and Healdsburg, Calif., before returning to College Place. For many years, Herb had his own construction business.
Originally an at-home mom, Anna May later was an administrative secretary, business office manager and registrar at Columbia Adventist Academy until retirement in 1991. Herb taught construction classes at CAA where they both thoroughly enjoyed the students.
They've relished traveling, their winter home in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., and their children, including daughters Vicky, and twins Lisa and Lori and their late son, Steven. There are eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Herb can often be found in the garden and fixing things. Anna May volunteers with Bibleinfo.com and is an instructor for It Is Written's Discover Bible Course. She also writes for the Women's Devotional Book. Together, they enjoy playing games and helping others.
Elder Charles Edwards officiated when his grandson Jim and Vicky wed in Moscow, Idaho, on Aug. 1, 1971. It was the hottest day that year at 110 degrees. They met one summer when Vicky was a camper and Jim was a boy's counselor and the astronomy teacher at Camp MiVoden in Hayden Lake, Idaho.
While Vicky worked in the internal medicine business office at Loma Linda University Medical School, Jim finished his medical training there. He interned in Glendale and worked in Antioch, Calif., then took a year-long general surgery training at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. He challenged the boards for the family practice and emergency medicine.
He has practiced in Okanogan, Brewster, Moses Lake and Walla Walla in Washington, Cave Junction Ore., Berrien Springs, Mich., and Antioch, Calif.
Meanwhile Vicky worked in hospital, school and church offices, the Walla Walla University Bookstore and managed the College Place branch of ABC several years ago. She also accompanied their sons Herbert, James and Andrew on mission trips in Third World countries.
They have two grandchildren.
Walla Walla Valley has a newly appointed Mrs. Walla Walla Valley in Shontina Gianotti-Coers.
Shontina is director of marketing and communication with the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. She and husband Chris Coers have 2-year-old son Ethan.
She will compete for the Mrs. Washington title in November 2011. She participates and supports many local and regional organizations, is an active member of the Walla Walla Valley Chamber Ambassador program and a new member of the United Way Board.
A Portland native, she came to this area in June 2008. Although born in Roseburg, Ore., she grew up in Portland then moved to Seattle.
She earned a bachelor's in psychology from Portland State University in 2003
"I enjoy the challenge of working with a continually growing industry," she said. There is a growing interest in the art and lifestyle, a curiosity about Walla Walla right now, she said.
"People have that ‘aha' moment about Walla Walla's food, wine and art. It's not just about onions any more. Suddenly they want to come here. We have great onions and great wine, too. We're not out in the middle of nowhere."
Shontina is not new to pageants as she entered a contest in 2000, was Miss Oregon American, and won Miss City of Roses in 2002 in Portland. She competed for Miss Oregon in 2002 and made the Top 20 the first time.
It's the first time Walla Walla has ever had a Mrs. Washington contestant, Shontina said. Whoever wins Mrs. Washington, goes on to the Mrs. America and then Mrs. World contests.
"It's a good experience, a good opportunity to be an ambassador for a region," she said.
"I am excited about the opportunity to represent the region in which I call home, a community rich in wine, art, food, and culture. I look forward to the challenges that await me as I prepare for the Mrs. Washington competition in the fall, while continuing to be a strong advocate for United Way and volunteer for organizations here in our community."
Mrs. Walla Walla Valley is sponsored by Alyssa Annette Photography, Don Johnson Sales, Rent to Own Trailers, and Walla Walla Vintners. For sponsorship opportunities contact Shontina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first Mrs. America competition took place at the Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey in 1938. For several decades, the pageant selected Mrs. America who best embodied the ideal homemaker: Candidates cooked, served, sewed and ironed their way to the crown.
According to a release, the pageant didn't operate from 1968-1976, during a period of major social change in America, and re-established in 1977, with a new definition. The new Mrs. America promotes the modern married woman in all her dimensions - grace, poise, personal values, professional purpose, physical fitness and community involvement.
Contact Annie Charnley Eveland at email@example.com.