Cutchogue couple shares the secret of a 70-year marriage

03/24/2013 5:00 PM |

COURTESY PHOTO | Mildred and Thomas Kiernan of Cutchogue celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.

Looking for the secret of lasting love? Go no further than Tom and Mildred Kiernan of Cutchogue, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary March 8.

“Be honest with each other,” Mr. Kiernan advised. “That is the most important thing.”

Tom was working in a butcher shop in Jamaica, Queens, when he met 16-year-old Mildred. She was assisting at her father’s business, parking cars for local businessman while they worked.

“I remember he’d come up to my window and we’d just talk until my mother would yell to close it,” Ms. Kiernan laughed.

Since their wedding in 1943, the couple says, they’ve taken their marriage day-by-day. After Mr. Kiernan left the Navy at the end of World War II, the couple raised family in Farmingdale. The Kiernans summered in Cutchogue and decided to become year-round residents in 2002.

The couple has five children, 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Through it all, they say, their commitment to one another has not faded. In 2010 the couple renewed their vows at Our Lady of Good Counsel R.C. Church in Mattituck.

“We’ve had our disagreements,” Mr. Kiernan said. “But we made up. No road is without its bumps. We never stopped loving each other.”

For the Kiernans, keeping active is a key ingredient in a lasting relationship. The couple has shared hobbies throughout their lives, everything from horseback riding to swing dancing and even simple tasks like grocery shopping.

Tom, 92, and Mildred, 88, say the passing of time has not left them idle.

“We go every week to Karen’s Deli with our neighbors,” Ms. Kiernan said.

“I’d take her every day if she wanted,” her husband added.

The lively couple is not unaccustomed to giving marital advice. When an airline attendant announced their 70th anniversary on a recent flight to Virginia, a passenger called out for their secret.

“Hold hands, and speak softly,” Mr. Kiernan said.

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