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State Winners for 2017 Longest Married Couple Project Announced by Worldwide Marriage Encounter

Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, 321-544-3440, dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Feb. 8, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- The 2017 state winners of the seventh annual Longest Married Couple Project, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith based marriage enrichment program in this country, were announced today.

"It is just amazing to us the number of couples married 70 years or more and in addition those with 60 plus years of marriage," said Joe & Sue Talarico, the United States Leadership Team for WWME. The Talaricos serve with Fr. Tom Ogg as the U.S. Leadership Team.

"There were hundreds of nominations submitted," the Talaricos explained, adding, "And, again we witnessed couples married 50 years or more being recognized by family and friends as they submitted their names to the Longest Married Couple Project."

The 2017 longest married couple in the United States, based on the nominations submitted, is Horace Allen & Beatrice Ricks of Callahan, Florida. They are married over 81 years having made their marriage vows in Dec. 25, 1935. The Talaricos will be honoring Mr. & Mrs. Ricks in a special ceremony in their hometown of Callahan, Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) just prior to Valentine's Day.

As in previous years of the seven-year-old project, individual state winners will also be recognized and honored by couples involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter over the Valentine's week or at a time convenient for the winning state couple and their families.
 
Winners of the project are automatically made members of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Longest Married Couple Project Alumni group. Couples cannot succeed themselves each year as either national or state winners, thus giving an opportunity to honor other longest married couples across the country.

The Talaricos also pointed out that the project is based on nominations received from October 10th the previous year to January 10th of the current year.  They also said there there were no nominations this year from five states.
           
The list of the 2017 state winners and their hometowns and wedding dates are as follows:

    Alabama
    Robert & Phyllis Barrett
    Cropwell, AL
    July 1, 1950 – 66 years

    Alaska
    Ray & Bernice Sewicky
    Anchorage, AK
    April 20, 1948  - 68 years

    Arizona
    Stephen & Frances McCarville,
    Casa Grande, AZ.
    Jan. 19, 1957    59 years

    Arkansas
    James & Gussie Garfield
    North Little Rock, AR
    Dec. 25, 1939 – 77 years

    California
    Hipolito and Ildefonsa Esposo
    Santa Clara, CA
    December 29, 1943 – 73 years

    Colorado
    William & Margaret Hensen
    Colorado Springs, CO
    June 20, 1959 – 57 years

    Connecticut
    Martin & Mary Konefal
    Rockfall, CT
    Jan. 8, 1945 – 72 years

    Delaware
    Angelo & Carolyn Massino
    Bethany Beach, DE
    Sept. 18, 1954 – 62 years

    Florida
    Victor & Margaret Gerard
    Haines City, FL
    April 25, 1943 – 73 years

    Georgia
    Nicholas & Mary Joan Cogelia
    Duluth, GA
    June 29, 1963 – 53 years

    Hawaii
    Ed & Marie Nishihara
    Wailuku , Maui
    Feb. 23, 1946 – 70 years

    Idaho
    Martin & Wanda Lee Arford
    Nampa, ID
    August 28, 1943 – 73 years

    Illinois
    Fritz & Lilly Mai
    Geneva, IL
    March 25, 1950 – 66 years

    Indiana                                               
    Wayne & Joan Caldwell
    Fishers, IN
    June 6, 1946 – 70 years

    Iowa
    Murlyn & Lillian Ronk
    Dunlap, IA
    June 3, 1941 – 75 years

    Kansas
    Robert & Mary Stockman
    Lyndon, KS
    June 13, 1947 – 69 years

    Kentucky
    Ed & Gertrude Maxwell
    Louisville, KY
    Sept. 19, 1942 – 74 years

    Maine
    George & Donna Mitchell
    Troy, ME
    June 16, 1955 – 61 years

    Maryland
    Albert & Mary Chesnavage
    Baltimore, MD
    May 22, 1943 – 73 years

    Massachusetts
    John & Ellen Tietgens
    Clarksburg, MA
    April 22, 1944 – 72 years

    Michigan
    Daniel & Madge Bursch
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Aug. 8, 1944 – 72 years

    Minnesota
    Vincent & Leona Arceno
    St. Paul, MN
    Feb. 27, 1943 – 73 years

    Mississippi
    David & Margaret Huch
    Ridgeland, MS
    May 19, 1951 – 65 years

    Missouri
    Paul & Helen Eeftink
    Chesterfield, MO
    July 3, 1954 – 62 years

    Montana
    John & Betty Carter
    Denton, MT
    Dec. 27, 1945 – 71 years

    Nebraska
    Gil & Pat Cron
    Friend, NE
    Sept. 19, 1954 – 62 years

    Nevada
    Gail & Donna Andress
    Nelson, NV
    July 9, 1944 – 72 years

    New Jersey
    Henry & Stephanie Kilanowski
    Toms River, NJ
    Jan. 27, 1940 – 76 years

    New York
    Frank & Helen Luisi
    East Rockaway, NY
    April 19, 1945 – 71 years

    North Carolina
    Ernest & Mary Floyd
    Columbus, NC
    Feb. 14, 1942 – 74 years

    North Dakota
    Kermit & Nina Heen
    Williston, ND
    March 9, 1943 – 73 years

    Ohio
    Joseph & Olga Pasquarella
    Steubenville, OH
    June 15, 1948 – 68 years

    Oklahoma
    Dick & Rosalle Horn
    Quapaw, OK 
    Sept. 2, 1941 – 75 years

    Oregon
    Claude & Yvette Arrington
    Newberg, OR
    May 23, 1942 – 74 years

    Pennsylvania
    Craig & Beatrice Beltzner
    Northampton, PA
    April 26, 1941 – 75 years

    Rhode Island
    Ed & Marie Ketz
    Riverside, RI
    Nov. 28, 1948 – 68 years

    South Carolina
    Ralph & Mary Bass
    Greer, SC
    August 15, 1942 – 74 years

    Tennessee
    Steve & Mary Lou Knowles
    Fairfield Glade, TN
    Nov. 11, 1947 – 69 years

    Texas
    Bill & Bess Ray
    Quitman, TX
    Nov. 1, 1940 – 76 years

    Vermont
    Al & Mary Ann Barcomb
    Burlington, VT
    Feb. 27, 1960 – 56 years

    Virginia
    Glen & Bea Hill
    Norton, VA
    May 18, 1940 – 76 years

    Washington
    William & Helen Aker
    Lilliwaup, WA
    June 14, 1941 – 75 years

    West Virginia
    James & Elise McCormick
    Sumerco, WV
    Jan. 10, 1942 – 74 years

    Wisconsin
    Robert & Viola Maahs
    Fence, WI
    Oct. 21, 1939 – 77 years 

    Wyoming
    Joe & Eldine Maixner
    Casper, WY
    Feb. 2, 1946 – 70 years

Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 49 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.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends online go to
wwme.org or contact the WWME Office at (909) 863-9963.

Media inquiries should be directed to:
Dick & Diane Baumbach
(321) 544-3440
dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net


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