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Estacada couple celebrates 62 years of marriage

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Mary Ann and Leroy Layton celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on Jan. 15.Romeo and Juliet and Tristan and Isolde have famous tales of love, but Estacada’s Mary Ann and Leroy Layton have got these stories beat.

The couple, who have been married for 62 years, met one summer when Mary Ann, who lived in Kansas, was visiting family in Oregon. Leroy, who lived near her family in Oregon, asked her out, and they went on their first date to Jantzen Beach in North Portland.

“I was only 15, and he was 19, so my dad said I could go if my cousin went along too,” Mary Ann recalled.

The date went smoothly until the two rode the roller coaster.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to put my arm around her, but she was too busy screaming,” Leroy said.

After that first date, the pair saw each other regularly during the summertime and holidays until Leroy was in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1950 to 1953.

“I used to write her at least once letter per week, but when you’re out at sea, there’s no mailbox,” he said.

Tired of being apart from one another, Mary Ann and Leroy married on Jan. 15, 1954 — Mary Ann’s birthday.

“We got married in Kansas,” Leroy recalled. “I can remember, it sure was cold. It had snowed, and the icicles were hanging around.”

The newlyweds lived in Kansas until the end of 1955 before relocating to the Portland area. They’ve lived in Estacada since 1986.

Leroy’s parents lived in Viola, Ore., while Mary Ann’s parents lived in Kansas.

“I was pretty homesick for a while after we left Kansas, but my folks came out to visit at least once a year,” she said.

For Mary Ann and Leroy, who have four children, six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, family plays an important role in their lives.

“We see them all pretty often,” Mary Ann said. “Every summer we’ll get together and have a big picnic. We love seeing all of our great-grandkids and how they interact with one another. It’s always fun.”CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MARY ANN LAYTON - Mary Ann with the couples daughter, Cyndy, in 1957. The couple has four children total.

When they’re not with family, Mary Ann and Leroy enjoy exploring Estacada, especially going to The Grind Coffeehouse and the Community Center.

“We play bingo (at the center) twice a week,” Mary Ann said.

The pair also enjoys travelling together. They’ve been to Maine, Connecticut and Hawaii.

“(The trips were) a lot of fun,” Leroy said.

The pair has been steadfast in their dedication to one another over the years.

“When you think of the oath you took when you got married, if you break that in any way, that would be a breach of contract,” Leroy said. “I’ve just never thought about breaching that contract in any way or manner. It’s just never entered my mind."

The pair also credits perseverance as key to a successful marriage.

“Work through the hard times, and don’t give up,” Leroy said.

Mary Ann added, “Say I love you every day. That’s important.”

For Valentine’s Day this year, they plan on attending a party at Eagle Creek Four Square Church.

Their favorite thing during their 62 years together has been the friendship they share.

“I really enjoy being with her,” Leroy said. “It’s kind of a funny thing, she has a friend she goes into Sandy with about once a week, and dog gone, when she’s gone I really miss her.”

Mary Ann likes that they’re always able to work through things together.

“We’ve managed this long, I guess we’ll make it the rest of the way,” she said, smiling.

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