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Local couples share how they’ve been married six-plus decades

Compromise and commitment are among the tips they give to younger couples
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Posted at 5:47 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 19:27:30-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This Valentine’s Day, June and William Zotzky celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.

The two were introduced at a high school football game. William was a freshman in college, June was a senior in high school.

“We were kind of high school sweethearts,” William Zotzky said. “She was actually the first girl I dated, because I was so bashful when I was in high school, that someone would look at me and I’d just freeze.”

The two quickly hit it off.

“We did love each other very quick, it didn’t take long,” June Zotzky said.

June and William Zotzky
June and William Zotzky

One floor beneath the Zotzkys at Trinity Towers, a senior assisted living facility, live Ray and Betty Cross. They met at church.

“I was attracted to her because she did play the piano,” Ray Cross said. “I’m no musician, but I appreciate music, and she was very good with the piano.”

The two became friends, and kept in touch through letters, while Ray was in the Coast Guard.

“We wrote each other, just as friends, for four years,” Betty Cross said. “When he was out of the Coast Guard, I was in college, and everything clicked.”

Less than a year later, they were engaged on Valentine’s Day, and got married in August 1954.

Ray and Betty Cross
Ray and Betty Cross

Across the hall from them, live Claudia and John Olson. They too, met at church. It was Claudia’s first day in Corpus Christi.

“We were introduced and I was asked to take her home. She was new in town to teach at Ray High School,” John Olson said. “I got in the car and let him take me home with his girlfriend at the time, who was along,” Claudia added.

John calls his relationship at the time a ‘connection of convenience.’ He asked Claudia out two weeks later. Neither of them remember their first date.

“I just remember driving around and talking with him a lot,” Claudia Olson said. “That’s what I remember in the early part of our relationship.”

Claudia isn’t sure if fate had anything to do with their meeting, but it was a chance that she even ended up in Corpus Christi.

“My sister and I were both offered the same places to go, and we flipped coins to decide. I got the coin for Corpus (Christi), she got the coin for Houston,” she said.

Claudia and John Olson
Claudia and John Olson

Three couples, all living in the same building, all married for more than 60 years. So, what’s the secret to their love’s longevity?

“A lot of give and take, respect for each other, love for each other,” said Claudia Olson. “Each will change with time, just be open, selfless, and forgiving,” John added.

Commitment is important.

“When times get hard, when you don’t have much money, and things get rough, those are the hard times, and you just have to be committed to working through them,” Betty Cross said.

And, of course, happy wife = happy life.

“I give her all the credit, every bit of the credit,” William Zotzky said. “That’s why we’ve stayed together, he gives me all the credit,” June added, laughing.