Carisa Cegavske

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December 30, 2013
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Neighbors: Couple celebrate six decades together

Bob Murray took just two days off work from Martin Brothers Box Co. in Oakland when he married Mildred Murray at a courthouse in Carson City, Nev., on New Year’s Eve 1953.

“He had to get back to work. We didn’t have any money and he had a wife to support,” Mildred said.

The Murrays celebrated their 60th anniversary a few days early Saturday, surrounded by family and friends at the Riversdale Grange in Roseburg. The day before the party they gathered with relatives in the living room of their Roseburg home to talk about their six decades together.

Both grew up in Wisconsin but Mildred moved to Oakland when she was 11. They met in California when Mildred was visiting a friend who had been her neighbor in Wisconsin and was also Bob’s cousin. Mildred was 16 and Bob was 24 and looking for work. Mildred’s father, who worked at Martin Brothers Box Co., encouraged Bob to get a job there.

They no longer remember exactly what they did on their first date, but Mildred thinks they probably attended a wrestling match in the old armory building across the street from the post office in downtown Roseburg. Professional wrestling used to be big entertainment in Roseburg and they attended many matches, she said.

The Murrays said they rarely fight and have enjoyed six decades of camping, traveling, fishing and reading together.

“We just seemed to have the same interests. We enjoyed the simple things. It’s always been that way. We still enjoy doing the simple things,” Mildred said.

Mildred was a bank bookkeeper when they were first married and later worked as an assistant clerk in the Douglas County elections office. Bob later worked in the Douglas County Assessor’s Office and then as a loan appraiser for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

They raised three daughters, Barbara Murray, 48, of Klamath Falls; Debbie Whitcomb, 57, of Vancouver, Wash.; and Cindy Sustaire, 53, of Cottage Grove. Their daughters gave them four grandchildren.

Family members call each other by nicknames. Mildred’s is “Tim.”

“When I was little I was tiny and my Dad called me Tiny Tim,” she said.

Bob, the only family member without a nickname, said he rarely calls his wife by her real name.

“I’ve always called her Tim except when I’m a little bit upset,” he said.

Daughters Barbara Murray and Debbie Whitcomb say that is a rare occurrence. They say their parents were more inclined to laugh than fight.

Mildred said their marriage philosophy is pretty straightforward.

“If you have a disagreement get over it. You never know when it will be your last day together,” she said. “We always have a good night kiss.”

“And a good morning kiss,” Bob added.

Whitcomb said her parents have set a good example. She has been married to husband Bill Whitcomb for 37 years and Sustaire has been married to her husband for 27 years.

“We knew growing up that marriage was forever and that the vow was not just to stay together, it was that you’ll love someone for the rest of your life,” Whitcomb said.

Bob and Mildred plan to spend New Year’s Eve in Bandon.

This is not the first time the couple have celebrated a marital milestone.

For their 40th anniversary, their daughters created a memory quilt. It is covered with applique images of the houses where they lived, photographs and embroidered memories like their father flipping pancakes.

One of the squares has a copy of the bill for their wedding rings, payable in $5 installments to Weisfield Jewelers.

For their 50th anniversary, they took a dinner train from Redmond to Prineville and participated in an old western-style mystery game.

The pair said some of their best memories have come from traveling together, including camping trips with their children and visits to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and Albuquerque, N.M.

Still, Bob said the best trip they ever took was to Carson City 60 years ago.

“We feel fortunate to have had this many years together,” he said.

• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or

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The News-Review Updated Dec 30, 2013 03:52PM Published Jan 1, 2014 12:23PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.