George and Min Vennard of Abbotsford recently celebrated their 70th anniversary.

George and Min Vennard of Abbotsford recently celebrated their 70th anniversary.

Couple who met on baseball field still going strong after 70 years

George and Min Vennard of Abbotsford celebrate seven decades of marriage

George and Min Vennard of Abbotsford celebrated their 70th anniversary on May 15.

They both grew up in small-town Saskatchewan, about 50 kilometres apart, and got to know each other from baseball games.

Min would go to watch her brother and other friends play ball, and George caught her eye – she thought he was cute.

George enlisted in the army in the Second World War but was not sent overseas. Min moved to Malton, Ont., where she worked in a small-arms and airplane factory.

Following the war, Min returned to Saskatchewan and a romance developed between her and the “cute” ballplayer, and they later became engaged.

George moved to B.C. in 1947 to find employment as an automotive mechanic, settling in Langley.

Min travelled to B.C. by train in 1948 to meet her fiance, and they were married in Langley on May 15, 1948.

The high water levels this year remind them of the flood of 1948. George remembers filling sandbags to help in the battle against the Fraser River, and recalls seeing a log floating down the river with chickens clinging to it for dear life.

George and Min made their home in a small house in Langley, and their first daughter was born in Langley Hospital. The family relocated to Abbotsford in 1951.

Two sons and another daughter were added to the family – all born at the former MSA General Hospital.

George worked as a mechanic at several garages in Abbotsford over the years and took over ownership of Vic’s Esso (across from the Fraser Valley Inn), running the business with his two sons until his retirement.

Min worked at the Delair Cafe (now the location of Valley Realty), and then Rancho Caterers, where she worked for many years while looking after the family and household.

Min and George enjoyed five-pin bowling at Galaxy Bowl, participating in leagues and tournaments. Both of them won trophies and awards, and George’s name is on some of the plaques and trophies still displayed at the bowling alley.

Family vacations were always camping trips – although camping with four kids and a dog may not sound like much of a vacation. Trips to Calgary were also made to visit George’s brother, who married Min’s sister.

Min suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2013 and underwent brain surgery at Royal Columbian Hospital. She fought back to return almost to full health, prompting the doctors to call her a miracle.

After the surgery, the kids were concerned about the stress on George, and felt he should not visit until her condition was stabilized.

When he was finally able to see her, the normally quiet George was so excited he couldn’t stop talking. After that, he visited every day until Min made it home.

The couple live independently, with help from their family. They have four grandchildren and one great-grandson. One of their greatest joys in life is how close the family remains, both in proximity and in spirit.