Ronalda and Doug Tibbo have reached a marriage milestone that few couples will ever achieve. The couple, now both residents at Glen Haven Manor, have been married for 60 years as of this past Dec. 27 and will mark Valentine’s Day together at Glen Haven. It is a love story that began more than six decades ago in the late 1950s when a dark-haired, pretty, petite young woman from Sainte Anne, New Brunswick ventured, far from home and her parents, to take a job at the lobster factory in Lismore on the Shore Road of Pictou County.
It was at the John A. Doyle and Sons Limited canning factory, which was owned and operated by entrepreneur and businessman John Doyle, that she met a handsome young truck driver from Port Felix, Guysborough County, who would later become her husband. Ronalda came to the factory with a group of about 10 very young women and she says that she was not the first girl of the group Doug dated but she was the last. With a twinkle in his eye, Doug says he always had his eye on Ronalda. The lobster factory was a major employer for the region and Doug’s father Neil, foreman at the factory, was his boss when Doug first started his work there. The young couple fell in love, married and had their first home in Guysborough while Doug continued work at the factory. They then came back to Pictou County to live and rented a house in Merigonish but went on to build their own home, also in Merigomish, and raised their five daughters-Eileen, Debbie, Lillian, Sheila and Diane there. Doug was a truck driver for his entire career and in addition to his time working at the lobster factory he was also employed by Dickson Brothers and Harold Russell.
Ronalda recalls her work at the factory, taking the meat from the lobsters in preparation for canning, and how it could be hard on the hands. In later years she also provided meticulous housekeeping services for other families in the community. She tells that she was so young getting married, her parents were worried but as soon as the young couple’s first baby arrived her parents were excited and happy, and their worries disappeared.
It is obvious that to Ronalda and Doug that family always came first. Ronalda says with a smile that putting your children first was a big part of the secret to their marriage success. She says getting along, being loyal to your family, being committed to each other and not letting the little things bother you or get you down makes for a long and happy marriage. She also says with pride that among those New Brunswick girls who came to the factory more than six decades ago she has been blessed with the longest marriage.
Ronalda and Doug both beam with pride when speaking about their daughters who went on to have careers in government, business and law sectors. And they are very proud to have a granddaughter, Crystal. Ronalda recalls taking their five little daughters faithfully to church in Egerton and then Lismore each week with Sunday best fancy little dresses and their hair all done up. She remembers with fondness their neighbours would always want to come and speak to the five girls who are very close in age, after church and everyone loved to see them all dressed up.
The two also recall with great fondness living and raising a family in Merigonish and say what a beautiful place it was to live and make a home. Ronald and Doug both comment on how fast time has gone by and how they can hardly believe they are now in their early 80s with six decades of marriage to their credit. The couple enjoys being able to be together at Glen Haven and are looking forward to a special Valentine’s dinner together.
Doug says he knew very quickly Ronalda was the one for him and the test of time has proven him so very right.