After 70 years, Anchorage couple is still happy together

Both say they still 'give in a lot'

Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010

ANCHORAGE - He's 95. She's 90.

Roy and Marcia Zahrobsky met when he walked into her dad's grocery store in Hampton, Iowa, back in the '30s to get some lunch.

Then one day he came up and asked her if she was going to the dance.

"She was a cute little girl," he says.

Before you know it, a depression, a world war and a few decades later, here they are, celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary in a nursing home in the Muldoon neighborhood of Anchorage - still together. They were married Dec. 28, 1939.

They've been married longer than some people live, she notes.

The couple live in the Prestige Care and Rehabilitation Center of Anchorage, formerly the Mary Conrad Center.

They still argue a lot about everyday stuff, he says. Including, for example, which one of them is responsible for resolving the arguments.

"I give in a lot," she says.

"I give in a lot," he says.

She's more outgoing, with the same personality she had when they met, says Roy Zahrobsky. Sitting in a commons area at the nursing home, her wavy hair still showing a hint of dark, Marcia waves and chats with people. While being interviewed, she interviews the interviewer: "Where do you live?" she asks.

He's got the better memory and moves around more easily. He gets up early every day, then goes to tidy up her room while she sleeps in. They have lunch in her room together.

Both of them grew up in Iowa, he in Fort Dodge and Mason City and she in Hampton.

A plumbing job brought him to Hampton, where they met.

The wedding wasn't much of a ceremony.

Roy had gotten a job on the West Coast, and knew he'd have to leave Iowa.

He picked her up from work, and parked the car.

"I guess I gave her a nudge, and said, 'You want to get married?'"

She did.

They soon drove off for Washington state in his new, gray Pontiac sports coupe, stopping along the way in Grand Island, Neb., to marry. They wore the clothes they were driving in. The preacher called in some people to witness the occasion. And that was that, a 70-plus-year union was formed.

Roy was a plumber in the beginning, and a foreman in charge of pipe jobs for most of his career.

He came up to Kodiak and worked on the construction of a military base in 1940. She followed. But after Dutch Harbor was bombed, the women and children were evacuated to the states in a troop ship. She returned to her hometown and worked as a bank teller.

Roy worked all over the place in the years following, including in the Aleutians and in Whitehorse, Yukon territory.

The couple came to Anchorage in 1949. They lived downtown for a few years. In 1970, they moved to Campbell Lake in West Anchorage, where he built a house and kept a float plane.

Marcia worked, too, for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Whitehorse, where the Corps was engineering a pipeline to Fairbanks and working on pieces of the Alaska Highway, then as secretary to the general manager of the Alaska Railroad for many years in Anchorage.

Marcia says the fact that they were apart quite a bit may have helped them stay together. They kept rediscovering they were in love, she says.

They gave up the house and most of their possessions after first Marcia, then Roy moved to the nursing home. Roy's been there for two years, Marcia for four.

"We're pretty fortunate to have each other," said Marcia.

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