Bert and Glenna Townsend celebrated their 70th anniversary last Tuesday in Vernon. (Photo submitted)

Vernon couple celebrates 70 years together

At a memorable dinner, brothers Cliff and Bert both asked Joe Barringham for two of his daughters’ hands in marriage.

It takes something special to keep a marriage going for 70 years, but Ted Townsend says his parents, Bert and Glenna Townsend are were always unique.

Bert and Glenna Townsend celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in Vernon on April 10.

Born and raised in the Peace River Country on the opposite sides of the BC-Alberta border, Bert Townsend and Glenna Barringham met by chance and began dating in the late 1940s. At the time, Glenna’s sister, Shirley was dating Bert’s friend, Cliff Vipond.

At a “memorable” family dinner, Townsend said his father and Cliff both asked Joe Barringham for his daughters’ hands in marriage. Bert and Glenna were married soon after on April 10, 1948.

The young couple settled in Dawson Creek and soon began their family. Within a few years, they moved to Pouce Coupe where over the next 20 years, they raised a family of five boys — Gerry, Stan, Les, Vern and Ted.

Bert built a new two-storey home in Pouce Coupe to house the growing family. It affectionately became known as the “old fort” for its stockade-like appearance that seemed designed as much to keep in the rambunctious Townsend boys as it was meant to offer protection from the outside world.

Bert began acquiring a series of rental homes and in mid-1970s they moved back to Dawson Creek as he continued to expand his small empire. Bert also worked for many years as a mechanic and shop foreman at Aspol Motors, then went on to become a valued and respected staff member of Northern Lights College’s welding program.

Regular hunting and snowmobile trips with friends helped fill his fall and winter seasons for many years Always an avid card and pool player, in retirement he became an active member of both the Dawson Creek Senior Citizens Hall and the Dawson Creek Golf and Country Club.

Glenna was a longtime stalwart of the TOPS Club in Dawson Creek , travelling all over northern and central BC to attend the club’s annual regional conferences. An avid collector, she assembled a beautiful and much-admired china collection, along with a large assortment of gift shop knick knacks acquired during their annual summer vacations in an ever larger series of holiday trailers and motorhomes.

In 2015, the couple moved to Vernon to be closer to their sons, who had scattered across B.C. and Alberta. They are now residents of Vernon’s Creekside Landing.

In addition to celebrating their anniversary, Bert marked his 93rd birthday on April 7, while Glenna will turn 88 on May 31. A five-generation family reunion is planned for Vernon on June 2 to mark the milestone anniversary.


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