‘Love Of Life’
Couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary
On Sunday, Aug. 30, Roger and Agnes McFarland hosted a small, outdoor gathering of family and friends to celebrate a milestone.
The McFarlands celebrated their 75th anniversary.
Agnes grew up in Warren, Roger in North Warren. They married on Aug. 30, 1945, at Wheeler Hill Methodist Church in the Town of Carroll, Chautauqua County, N.Y.
They had decided to marry when World War II was over, according to their son Bill. “Dad got drafted anyway” and “they lived their first year or so apart.”
Like the beginning of their marriage, their first pregnancy was beset by a traumatic event.
“They survived a house fire when Mom was pregnant with me, her first baby,” Bill said.
The difficult beginnings led to long lives together.
“I’d have to say, first, good genes — some of the credit for a 75th anniversary is just surviving, sort of a ‘lifetime achievement award,'” Bill said.
They have lived those long lives in positive spirits.
“Good temperament, love of life, and a good sense of humor,” their eldest son said. “They’ve consistently put other people ahead of themselves, making life better for dozens of relatives, friends, and neighbors.”
“At the bottom of everything has probably been their faith,” he said. “They both grew up in the Warren Nazarene church, then took all of us — and countless other kids — there faithfully, three or sometimes four times a week. They transferred to nearby Cable Hollow Church when we kids were grown up, and then helped with a Pine Grove Christian Fellowship ‘plant’ in Russell after that.”
They moved to Fox Hill, outside of Russell, in 1953 and raised their four children — Bill, Laurie, Gordon, and Tim.
Roger worked a Rexnord until retiring at the age of 72.
Agnes was a homemaker until the kids were all school aged when she went to work in the cafeteria at Eisenhower High School, eventually as manager.
They are now roommates at Warren Manor — where the celebration was held.
The situation at Warren Manor and every other assisted living facility has changed since COVID-19, making gatherings like a 75th anniversary more challenging.
“Ever since the mandate came to lock down and restrict any visitors at all, face-to-face, Susanna Hummel, the activities department, the nursing staff and aides have not only ‘carried on’ under the added demands, uncertainties, and stress, but they’ve filled in, beautifully, for the personal touch lost when we can’t visit our loved ones,” Bill McFarland said. “It’s plain to see how much they care for the residents as people, somebody’s everything, and never more so than on the occasion of this reception.”
“They scheduled an hour outdoors, on the patio, under a little canopy, where 21 relatives and friends took turns visiting with Dad and Mom at a safe distance,” he said. “Activity Director Darla Heckathorn baked cupcakes; her assistant Rick Heckathorn came in on his day off ‘to make sure everything went smoothly one of the aides brought in her own curling iron to fix Mom’s hair, with the regular beautician still shut out. Therapist Colleen Williams stood by throughout, then hugged and kissed my parents — through masks, of course — when we who love them most were not allowed.
“The COVID-19 restrictions have been very tough on the nursing home staff and residents and loved ones, but Warren Manor and, from what I hear, the other local nursing homes have been downright heroic in the face of those,” he said.