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Friday, February 15, 2013

Awarded Ontario’s longest lasting marriage, couple Florence and Willem Schurman celebrated their 72nd Valentine’s Day Yesterday


RICHMOND HILL - Florence 

and Willem Schurman credit 
being married for 72 

Valentine's Days to never 

going to bed 
angry.
"We always settle an 

argument before we go to sleep and we 
always kiss good night," Flo said Wednesday as the beaming 
couple and their adopted feline Bradi sat in their Richmond 
Hill apartment, just north of Toronto.
The two lovebirds -- Flo, 89, and Bill, 94 -- were anointed the 
longest married couple in Ontario this month by a group called 
the Worldwide Marriage Encounter, which held the contest for 
the first time in the province.
They married just three days after Pearl Harbor in 1941, with 
Bill's call to report to the Armed Forces in February looming.
Flanked by family photos, Flo said she still couldn't believe no 
one in the province has been married longer than them.
"I thought, 'I just can't believe this, there's got to be more 
people that have been married as long as or longer than we 
have','" she said. "But it doesn't sound as though they found 
them."
It all began when Flo moved to Richmond Hill at age 15 to stay 
with her aunt and attend high school.
Bill's family lived across from them and they had the only 
telephone in the neighbourhood, which Flo used frequently.
"That was a fatal mistake," Bill laughed.
Three years after his mother pushed him to take Flo skating, he 
got down on one knee and proposed to her.
"We were married at wartime and I think we appreciated 
living," Flo said. "And I think you figured you didn't know 
from day to day whether you'd be here or overseas."
Bill got the call to go abroad as Flo gave birth to their first 
child. After he failed his medical exam, he spent the war in 
Canada, much to his wife's relief.
Together, they have survived war, raised six children, 10 
grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, opened an 
insurance business, fought Bill's cancer diagnosis, sold the 
business and lost their son Paul to cancer when he was 57.
They've saved bags of greeting cards they have given to each 
other over the years for Christmas and Valentine's Day. Every 
Sunday, they can be found in the same church where they wed.
"In our time when we were married, we really did have to stick 
together," Flo said. "And the longer you stick together, the 
more you fall in love."
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