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Abbotsford couple celebrate 70th anniversary

Jack and Miriam O'Donnell met during the Second World War in Edmonton, Alta.
Jack and Miriam O’Donnell display a message from the Pope that they received in recognition of their 70th anniversary.

Jack and Miriam O’Donnell of Abbotsford celebrated their 70th anniversary on June 13.

Born in 1921 in New Brunswick, Jack was a young airman during the Second World War, on leave in Edmonton, Alta. when he boarded his bus to destiny.

Seated nearby was Miriam, along with several of her girlfriends. Born in Edmonton in 1925, she was independent and ready for adventure.

Jack dropped a penny, and Miriam, while making eye contact that left no room for doubt, placed her foot over it, thus beginning a conversation and partnership that has lasted to this day.

Following their marriage in Edmonton, Miriam joined Jack in New Brunswick while he completed his tour of duty.

But they knew the Maritimes was not for them and they headed west, first back to Edmonton. The birth of four children – they later had two more – and poor job opportunities on the prairies meant that it was time for a change.

In 1957, Jack and Miriam packed their worldly belongings into a trailer, put all four kids in the back of their second-hand car and again headed west – first to Surrey and then later to Langley, followed by Abbotsford in 1993.

Jack and Miriam have always been steadfast in their faith, both to their church and to each other, say their family.

That bond has provided them with the love, patience and strength to raise six children and to experience the joys of 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

At 93 and 89 years respectively, Jack and Miriam are still independently sharing their cozy home with plenty of trees and lawn and, most importantly, the many friends and family members who frequently drop by for a cup of coffee, laughs and memories.