71 years together, but apart for nearly a year

Carl and Irene Connelly

Carl and Irene Connelly celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary Thursday, Feb. 11, at Grays Harbor Health and Rehab.

Until the COVID pandemic hit the Harbor, Carl had been visiting Irene twice a day for over four years. But until Thursday, when they were able to spend a few moments together in celebration of their more than seven decades of marriage, they had not seen each other face to face in nearly a year. The staff at the facility said when Irene saw Carl enter her room, her eyes lit up and she just perked up.

The couple was married in Aberdeen on Feb. 11, 1950, and has lived on the Harbor most of their lives. Carl worked at various jobs over the years, including as a log truck driver, in the woods and for Puget Sound Truck Lines.

Their daughter Jackie Murphy remembers her mom doing beautiful crochet and knitted work and said she was an excellent seamstress. She made oldest daughter Veta’s wedding dress and all of the maid of honor and bridesmaid dresses. Jackie says she remembers her mom making all their school clothes and Jackie thinks she was about 14 years old before she ever had a store-bought dress.

The family enjoyed doing outdoor activities together, including what they called “blue tarp camping.”

The Connelly family includes daughters Veta Blaksley of Everett, Jackie Murphy of Aberdeen and Carlynne Williams of Humptulips; sons Joe Connelly of Aberdeen and Bob Connelly of Aberdeen; 13 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Daughter Kathy Gooby died a few years ago.