Chartwell residents Sam and Joanne Montgomery celebrated their diamond anniversary and 60 years of happily ever after on July 2, 2020. The two married in 1960 in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, but have lived in the Chartwell neighborhood of Severna Park for the past 48 years. They moved there due to Sam’s job at the time, and ended up raising their three children, Scott, Sally and Sharon, in their Chartwell home.
Sam and Joanne are originally from Pennsylvania, Springfield and Drexel Hill, respectively. They met one night at a Philadelphia ballroom where they were both enjoying live music and dancing. Sam had just finished his service in the U.S. Navy and was attending college using his GI Bill in nearby Chester. Shortly after meeting, the two got married and Sam’s job with General Electric relocated them to Syracuse, New York.
They did not stop there, though. In just a few short years, Sam’s job moved the family to many locations from Arizona, to Pennsylvania, to New Jersey, just to name a few. According to Joanne, neither of them minded moving. Sam was used to it from his time in the Navy and Joanne’s father served in the military, so it never bothered her. They finally settled into their forever home in Severna Park in 1972.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 5% of couples stay married for over 50 years, but Sam and Joanne make a lasting relationship look easy. “We have never had an argument,” said Joanne, “and I can’t tell you the secret to a happy marriage because I never had a reason to think about it. Sam is a good father and a good husband. Maybe that’s the secret!”
According to the couple, communication, an easygoing disposition and common interests are essential for six decades of a great relationship. For example, since early in their marriage, Sam loved to play golf, and because of that, Joanne learned to play as well.
“My husband is a golfer,” she said, “and I realized that if I wanted to see him, I had better learn to play golf, too.”
They still share a passion for the sport and play together up to three times per week.
Another shared passion for Sam and Joanne is world travel. “Travel while you’re young and able to enjoy it!” advised Joanne.
Over the years, the two have enjoyed traveling to Belize and Hawaii, and they speak fondly of their 40-year anniversary cruise to Alaska. This year, however, they celebrated their 60-year anniversary at home with friends and family. Because of coronavirus (COVID-19)-related restrictions at restaurants, the couple planned to mark the milestone anniversary with a catered dinner at home. “You have to be flexible!” Joanne said, “just another key to a long relationship.”
A lot has changed over the years since Sam and Joanne tied the knot in 1960. One thing that has not changed in Joanne’s eyes, however, is marriage.
“Young people are no less devoted to each other than Sam and I are, and divorces and separations happen at all ages,” she said. “Young couples argue for the same reasons older generations did when they were young, and people get married for the same reasons [Sam and] I did: to share our lives, have a family and raise kids together.”
This anniversary, like so many before, Sam and Joanne are happy to be together and celebrate with their family.