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Former Cambria Co. couple honored after 76 years of marriage
By: Maria Miller
LIGONIER, Pa. -- Seventy-six years of marriage and 68 grandkids later, a couple shared their secrets to a long and happy marriage as they were honored Wednesday.
Alton and Elsie Lehman, originally of Cambria County, have not only grown their family to nearly 70 members since they were married in 1937, their family said they love each other just as much, if not more today, as they did 76 years ago.
"Year after year we've tried to be true," Alton said.
"It's difficult for both of them to be apart for any medical reason," said their granddaughter, Michelle Parrish. "They're very connected."
The Lehmans currently live at the Bethlen Community in Ligonier but they're originally from St. Michael and Windber and lived much of their life together in Geistown.
Six children, 20 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren later, their love continues to inspire those around them every day.
"They've passed it on to every grandchild and great-grandchild," Parrish said. "They've been a gift of faith for all of us and their example. I mean the love, they still hold hands. They're a very beautiful couple."
"When you come in on a surprise visit you'll find them in the little lounge area there holding hands together all the time," said the couple's daughter, Karen Lehman.
Alton will tell you they hold hands for another reason.
"We hold each others hands so we don't hit each other," he said.
But the couple was inseparable Wednesday as they were recognized for being one of the oldest married couples in Pennsylvania. It's an award from Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Catholic-based organization that's meant to teach and inspire others how to live a happy, healthy marriage.
"You should never give up," said Rick West, who delivered the award. "The Lehmans have made a choice every day to live their marriage. That's what every couple should do."
More than seven decades together, the Lehmans are a couple who has shown aging in their years, but not for each other.
"He's a good man," Elsie said.
"She's pretty and we've been true to each other all these years," Alton said.
"They've shown us faith, family, work ethic, loyalty. I'm just so proud of them," Karen said.
For more information on Worldwide Marriage Encounter and how to nominate a deserving couple visit yourmarriageisworthit.org.