2014 Longest Married Couple Project Winners Announced by Worldwide Marriage Encounter
By Boaz Wadel
Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith based marriage enrichment program in the United States, announced today the national winners of the 2014 Longest Married Couple Project. They are Harold & Edna Owings of Burbank, CA. The Owings have been married 82 years as of Nov. 24, 2013.
Hundreds of nominations were received for this year's project. The winners from individual states will be announced on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. This is the fourth year for the nationwide project.
"What a privilege and honor it is to recognize Harold and Edna Owings for their commitment to marriage," said Ron and Judy Pekny, the United States Ecclesial Team for WWME. "We are looking forward to personally recognizing them on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14th, in their hometown of Burbank," they added. The Peknys serve with Fr. Rocky Grimard, as the U.S. leadership for the marriage enrichment movement.
The Owings were married Nov. 24, 1931. They met in 5th grade and Harold would bring Edna candy bars to school. If he thought she was annoyed at him he would give her two candy bars. Harold's dad owned a candy store.
The California couple achieved the honor of being the Longest Married Couple based on nominations submitted to Worldwide Marriage Encounter beginning in October of last year. The nomination project ended on January 10th.
The Peknys pointed out that the project is based on nominations received from October 15th the previous year to January 10th of the current year. "We realize there could be couples married longer, but we did not receive their nominations from friends or family during the nominating period," they said.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter created the project to highlight marriage in America and to show young couples that marriage really can go the distance. "What an inspiration Mr. & Owings are to all of us. They made a commitment to each other 82 years ago and they have kept that commitment over these many years. They truly are a sign of hope to us all," the Peknys said.
The national winners have two children (both of whom are deceased), 4 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. The presentation of gifts and acknowledgments to the Owings will be made on Feb. 14th at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School in Burbank.
State winners from across the country will be presented certificates of achievement and other recognitions by Worldwide Marriage Encounter couples during Valentine's week.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 45 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at facilities where the couples return to their homes in the evenings. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages.