Harold and Edna Owings from Burbank, California, who celebrated their 82<sup>nd anniversary in November of last year, have been named America's longest married couple.
The winners of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) 2014 Longest Married Couple Project were announced last Friday, and not only did the Owings get first prize, they also wowed the judging panel with their super sweet love story.
They met as children – becoming girlfriend and boyfriend in fifth grade. Harold's parents used to let him pick a treat from the grocery store where they worked, and every time he chose a Baby Ruth candy bar to give to his sweetheart.
Now aged 101, Edna remembers it well: "There'd be a Baby Ruth on my desk every day," she told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "Two if he thought I was mad."
Ever the romantic, Harold says his heart was set on Edna from the very beginning: "I knew I wanted to marry her," he asserts. Though they briefly lost touch as youngsters when Edna moved schools, the lovebirds reconnected by chance not long after. They married just after Edna's 19 birthday on Thanksgiving in 1931, and 82 years later are still going strong.
For their last anniversary, they wore matching t-shirts with "Together since 1931" written on the back, and ate a cake in the shape of a Baby Ruth bar.
"It's been very lovely. It's been a happy last chapter," Harold said of their marriage.
"We enjoy everything we do. We try and be happy, because life is short," Edna continued.
WWME established the project to share the value and joys of marriage in a culture where divorce rates are escalating.
Ron and Judy Pekny, the US Ecclesial Team for WWME, said it was a "privilege and honour" to give the Owings the award, citing them as an "inspiration...to all of us".
"They made a commitment to each other 82 years ago and they have kept that commitment over these many years.
"They truly are a sign of hope to us all."
The Owings will be presented with their award at a ceremony on Valentine's Day this Friday at Bellarmine-Jefferson High School in their hometown of Burbank.