By Melody Vallieu
TROY — Frank Bair pretty much summed it up when he said he held the key to he and his wife Betty’s longevity — they’ve been married for 70 years.
“You know when to talk and when to be quiet,” said Frank Bair at the Miami County Fair’s annual Golden Couple Anniversary photo on Wednesday at the Miami County Fairgrounds.
The Casstown couple met growing up as neighbors. She lived on Washington Pike, he on Eldean Road. Betty’s father had a corn shredder and helped with Frank’s dad’s fields and the families interchanged other farm work.
When Frank was leaving her property after work on her farm, Betty said she made sure he saw her.
“When he left our farm for the day, I’d make it my business to be out there,” Betty said, shyly revealing her boldness. “He’d throw me a piece of Dentyne.”
They also got to know each other during the long Ohio winters where families would take turns hosting evenings of food and games. One of those evenings the two experienced a first.
“We had our first kiss playing Spin the Bottle,” Frank admitted, chuckling.
Betty graduated from Elizabeth School and Frank received an honorary diploma given to those who went to World War II. He left for war 11 days after their Feb. 3 wedding.
The couple raised two sons, Michael of Troy and Rodney of St. Paris, and have six grandsons and six great-children — two of them finally girls.
Frank farmed and retired as a custodian for Miami East School District. Betty retired at the assistant treasurer for Miami East School District.
They remain active members of the Lostcreek United Church of Christ where she is the financial secretary and he is on the board of trustees.
In their earlier retirement, the couple traveled with a group of friends that were teachers and farmers.
“It was really neat because everybody knew everyone and enjoyed each other,” Frank said.
For their 40th anniversary, they vacationed in Hawaii, and also have traveled to Europe.
Frank said he and Betty are lucky — they have had had a good life and are fortunate.
She said communication is also a big factor in making a relationship work — something she said they have figured out over seven decades.
And I tell him he’s lucky because he has me,” Betty said, laughing.
Frank had one last piece of advice for couples trying to keep their relationship strong.
“You’ve got to remember that the gate swings both ways,” Frank said. “It’s not 60-40, it’s 50-50.”