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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

090517 Bennetts 1bHICKORY — For St. Aloysius parishioners Mike and Theresa Bennett, Sept. 6 is a milestone: Today they celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary, and they're still having fun.

"Marrying Theresa is my joy," says Mike, who will turn 99 in November. “The first time I laid eyes on Theresa, I knew she was the girl I was going to marry.”
The couple met at the “bandstand” in Au Sable Forks, N.Y., the popular spot in town where musicians played the latest tunes and people came out to enjoy the evening.

Theresa reminisces, “I could tell right away that Mike was a good person and he was very handsome.”

On one of their first dates, Mike took Theresa to a restaurant, which was a new experience for her. She didn’t know what to order. Finally, she chose a grilled cheese sandwich. Theresa and Mike chuckle as Theresa recounts the story – she does not like grilled cheese sandwiches.

On Sept. 6, 1937, the couple were married before the last blessing at the 7 a.m. Mass. After Mass, they hopped into Mike’s car for a honeymoon to adventurous New Hampshire. While they were there, they could visit Theresa’s sister.

Life wasn’t easy for the newlyweds, who were trying to manage on $17 a week. A few years later, World War II brought on more financial hardships for the country, but they tightened their belts and were happy to be together.

090617 Bennetts 2bFinances got easier for them after Mike landed a job with General Electric, which tripled his income.

While Mike was at work, Theresa took on the challenge of raising their five boys. She enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, caring for her family.

The couple packed up and moved each time Mike was promoted at GE. In the mid-1970s his job brought them to Hickory, where he was sent to set up a new GE plant.

Years later Mike retired from GE and the couple chose to remain in Hickory, where they have a lovely home with a beautiful view of Lake Hickory.

Besides their five sons, they have 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Their successful marriage is the epitome of a lifelong commitment to each other and to their Catholic faith, they say.

Their secret to remaining happily married for eight decades?
“Don’t go to bed angry," Theresa says. The 96-year-old adds, "You can’t be too independent in a marriage. You need each other and you should do everything together.”

Mike chimes in, “Theresa is right."

— Bobby Spears, correspondent