After 66 years, couple still ‘in love’ – despite different views of flying

Sean C. Morgan

Ruby Geralinde “Gerri” (Beaver) Moore, 81, and Arlen Moore, 86, of Sweet Home celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary Feb. 16.

The two met in an Oregon logging camp run by Gerri’s father. Arlen worked there with his brother, and Gerri’s mother took care of laundry for the workers, although the way Gerri recalls it, “I did it all.”

They dated for a year and a half prior to getting married.

It was “the biggest lumber mill in the world,” said Arlen, who was a choker setter. He believes it was in Chemault area.

When Gerri’s parents closed the mill, her family returned to St. Louis, Mo., the area where Gerri had been born and raised.

“I was going to go back to Sweet Home where I came from,” said Arlen, who grew up in Keno before moving to Sweet Home in 1946 and graduating from Sweet Home High School in 1949.

“Then I got lonely for her.”

He followed Gerri to Missouri. There he asked Gerri and then her parents if he could marry her.

“We made contact with a Methodist preacher, and we went and got married (Feb. 16, 1951),” Arlen said. The work there didn’t pay as well, and the couple returned to Oregon. They got off the bus and stayed with Arlen’s parents, initially.

“Mother didn’t know we were coming or that we were going to get married,” Arlen said. “And we didn’t either.”

Arlen went to work at Santiam Lumber Mill and spent more than 30 years working for Willamette Industries. He worked at the planer and was a lumber carrier driver.

Gerri worked several different places, including Sprouse Reitz, located next to the old Safeway building, and Snappy Service, located across Long Street from Sweet Home High School where the Los Faroles Taqueria restaurant is today. She continued to work after Arlen retired in 1990, at the Stitching Post when the couple moved to Sisters. They lived there for about 10 years.

The Moores returned to Sweet Home about a decade ago and purchased a home across the street from their daughter, Jan McDonald, who works at Thriftway, the family business.

Arlen was a close high school friend of Dr. Robert Langmack, who founded a hospital and Langmack Airport in Sweet Home. Langmack Airport was located between Long Street and Airport Road between 43rd and 49th avenues. The property is now a growing subdivision.

Langmack delivered both of Gerri and Arlen’s children, Jan and Craig.

“He wouldn’t take any money for it,” Arlen said.

“I cost $10,” Jan said. “My brother cost $15.”

That was the first payment, Jan said. “And that’s all they would take. They wouldn’t take any more after that.”

Self-taught, Arlen built and flew his own gliders and airplanes, and he ran Langmack Airport for Dr. Langmack.

Arlen was there nearly every day for 20 years, he said. He, Gerri, their late son Craig Moore and daughter Jan McDonald spent three years building an SS-1 glider that was donated in 1966 to the Southwest Soaring Museum in New Mexico, where it remains today.

“I was the only one small enough to crawl in the fuselage and buck the rivets,” said Jan McDonald.

“I helped him when he was building, but I didn’t fly with him,” said Gerri, who wasn’t a big fan of flying.

“We flew a lot as little kids, my brother and I,” Jan said. Arlen always had an airplane, and Jan was always the one working the wingtips of the gliders, “to make sure they didn’t hit the ground,” she said.

Gerri enjoys knitting, crocheting, quilting and sewing projects.

After 66 years, “they’re still in love,” said caregiver Sharon Saldona. “You can tell.”

“We just learned to live with each other,” Gerri said. “He’s still a nice guy. I’ll keep him.”