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Bob Lind, Published August 18 2012

Lind: Couple celebrates 50th with parents, kids

Quite a few couples get to see their 50th wedding anniversary. But how many have the privilege of having their parents there to help them celebrate? Parents who themselves had their 50th wedding anniversary?

Such was the case for Leslie Arne, who celebrated her and her husband Allen Arne’s golden anniversary June 10. They were married June 13, 1962, in Verona, N.D.

Among those attending the celebration were Leslie’s parents, Lester – who goes by “Bud” – and Eva Ballinger, Lisbon, N.D., who were married Oct. 3, 1943, and who will observe their 69th anniversary this fall.

But then, long marriages run in the family.

Bud’s parents – and Leslie’s grandparents – Ernest and Margaret Ballinger were married Sept. 5, 1922, in Verona, lived in Englevale, N.D., and lived to celebrate their golden anniversary.

So that makes three generations with 50-year marriages.

High waters

Some family background: Allen Arne retired after 26 years in the Air Force, then was with civil service for 20 years. His wife, Leslie, is retired after working for 26 years in the Minot, N.D., school system.

The anniversary celebration had a bittersweet taste because their home in Minot had been hit by that city’s flood. So, while their basement was being restored, they moved into an apartment in Lisbon, where they helped Leslie’s mother adjust to moving to the Parkside Nursing Home there.

Two weeks later, the Arnes received a call of desperation from their daughter, Tracey Arne, saying her and her family’s home in Minot was under 8 feet of water, and they lost it, their church and their schools.

But Tracey’s parents’ home in Minot was livable, other than its basement, so Tracey and her family moved into it until recently, when their rebuilt home was finished and they could return home. Her parents remain in Lisbon.

Good advice

The celebration for Allen and Leslie was at the Bear Creek Winery, Fargo, which is owned by Leslie’s brother Rod Ballinger and his wife, Sue.

Most of the Arnes’ family members were there. They have several siblings, four children, 22 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, which means Leslie’s parents have seven great-great-grandkids.

With those three golden anniversaries in the family, it was only natural that one of Leslie’s grandsons asked her what the secret was to stay married 50 years.

Grandma Leslie’s answer: “Just keep on breathing and don’t get a divorce.”


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com