The Rev. Gail Wheatley of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, left, reads a letter from Gov. Jay Inslee congratulating Elaine and Ed Berrington, center and right, on their 75th anniversary. (Jesse Major/ Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles pair celebrates ‘amazing accomplishment’ at 75 years

PORT ANGELES — Ed Berrington of Port Angeles is as sure today as he was 75 years ago that Elaine Berrington was the right woman for him.

Today marks their 75th wedding anniversary, which the couple celebrated Sunday at St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

“I honestly feel that we were matched before we were born and it was God’s plan that finally got us together,” Ed said last week.

They held hands and smiled as the Rev. Gail Wheatley read a letter from Gov. Jay Inslee congratulating the couple.

“What a beautiful illustration of enduring love and devotion!” Inslee wrote. “I applaud your commitment to walking through life’s adventures together, hand in hand.”

Ed said it was destiny when they met at a dance in Portland, Ore., more than 75 years ago. He just couldn’t stop thinking about her.

“It was just meant to be,” he said.

Elaine said she counts herself lucky that she met Ed. She lived in Portland and he lived in Vancouver, Wash., at the time.

“I was at the dance with another boy,” she said. “And then I met [Ed] and we started going together after that.”

Ed said it was probably two years later that they got married.

Ed, who was a cadet going through basic training for the U.S. Army Air Corps, said at the time cadets weren’t allowed to get married.

“They had rules against that,” he said.

But as he was finishing basic training, that rule changed and he knew exactly what he needed to do.

“When they changed the rules I called her up and said … we can get married,” he said.

He said they were in their early 20s when they both said “I do.”

“You don’t need to tell everybody how old we are,” Elaine told Ed, laughing. “They can figure it out.”

Ed, a World War II pilot, crashed in France and was in and out of an Army hospital as he recovered from his wounds, Elaine said.

“He was pulled out [of his plane] by a French farmer,” she said.

They then settled in Vancouver, where he worked with Alcoa, which operated an aluminum smelter along the Columbia River between 1940 and 1985.

Elaine said they have traveled the world together and even lived in Brazil for about a year and a half while Ed helped start an Alcoa plant in the South American country.

They moved to Port Angeles about 45 years ago and lived in a home Ed built for them, she said.

Throughout the years, they have had ups and downs just like every married couple, Elaine said, but they have always gotten over their arguments.

“I guess we just love each other,” she said.

Ed said he feels many people don’t know what true love feels like when they get married.

“Make sure it’s the right person that God has planned for you,” he said, offering advice for couples considering marriage.

“Make sure they know what they are doing.

“Be sure when you do [get married] you wait for the right person.”

Wheatley called their anniversary and marriage an “amazing accomplishment.”

“People here love them and realize what a remarkable accomplishment it is for any two people to be together that long,” said Wheatley, who organized the celebration Sunday.

“It was just a privilege for us to say congratulations.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

 

Elaine and Ed Berrington look over cakes during a reception at St. Andrews Episcopal Church on Sunday, honoring them for their 75th wedding anniversary. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)