The marriage of Alvin and Gladys Buell is an ongoing legacy to their family, friends and the community showcasing commitment, dedication and a love that has and will continue to handle both the good and the bad.
Posted on 8/2/14
This marriage has withstood both heartache and joy all the while leaving a mark on those who come into contact with the Buells. For 72 years, Alvin and Gladys have been committed to loving, liking and respecting one another.
On July 10, 1942 in Reno, Nevada, seventeen days before she turned 18, Gladys married Alvin in a simple ceremony attended by their mothers, Alvin’s sister, their pastor, the church pastor and his family. It was a simple affair, that had none of the flashliness and over the top of some of the weddings featured today, but then again maybe the simplicity of their wedding allowed their love for each other to be showcased even brighter.
Gladys had recently moved to California from South Dakota when she met Alvin, who was a few years older.
“We were just kids when we got married, but we grew together,” Alvin said.
“We are like one, even though we are opposites,” Gladys said.
The two only dated a brief time before the wed, but they both knew their marriage was going to last regardless of the circumstances they may face.
“We had rough times, like everyone, but we never thought, ‘we are done,’” Gladys said.
Those rough times included the death of their son, Karl, when he was 29 and then the death of Karl’s son, Craig.
Gladys says it was her faith in God that helped both her and Alvin during those rough moments, “When you have the Lord, He takes you through that and He gives you a peace.”
Alvin agrees and both say having a faith foundation has helped them through the many moments of their marriage.
Faith has played an integral part in their marriage and their family, son Kenny and daughter Donnelle Torgerson agree that that has been a cornerstone of their family.
At a small family gathering celebrating their 72nd anniversary and Gladys’ 90th birthday, Donnelle said her parents are great examples of staying together during both the good and the bad. Her daughter, Shelley Rogers added that their commitment is something that she strives for.
Kenny’s oldest daughter and the oldest of the 11 grandkids said spending time with them during the summers she got to see how they loved each other.
Gladys said one of the ways she showed Alvin her love was making his favorite meals, and that the other farm wives always thought that Alvin spoiled her. They both agreed that part of the secret of their longevity is spending time with each other, they never spent too long apart and vacationing was something they did together.
And while Gladys will tell you it helped that Alvin never complains and is serious, there is humor in his voice as he tells his family and friends, “I’m not sure we are going to make it.” To which Gladys says with a laugh, “Marriage is a life sentence, one without parole.”
This “life sentence” took the family from Alvin’s farm in California back to South Dakota where they spent a majority of their marriage raising cattle on a farm in Gregory. Here they raised their three children, who grew and gave the couple 11 grandchildren. There are now 35 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
As they got older, they decided to move to North Dakota to a farm near their daughter and son-in-law, Donnelle and Joe, Kenny moved to be closer as well. After sometime and age, the couple moved into an apartment in Langdon, and then into Maple Manor Care Center, where they share a double occupancy room, keeping this couple together.
Through the challenges of life, Gladys said, they are each other’s helpmates, working with, encouraging and loving each other.
Gladys and Alvin both agree it may be loving each other that has been the hardest challenge, but both are quick to point out the marriage requires you to think less of yourself and more of your partner and to love the person unconditionally.
When asked what Alvin loves most about Gladys, he thought for just a moment before he responded with, “I just do, that is the way it is.” to which Gladys added, “we just do.”
When asked if they would get married again at such a young age or even if they would change things, Gladys didn’t hesitate with “no, I’d do it again and change nothing.”
“Neither of us are perfect, we both make mistakes but the other one still loves the other one,” Gladys said.