Couple celebrates 70 years of marriage, including ‘a lot of give and take’

Sean C. Morgan

Ed and Wanda McCartin of Sweet Home celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Saturday at the Community Chapel.

The secret to 70 years of marriage is straightforward.

“First you’ve got to let your wife know who’s the boss,” said Ed. “If she doesn’t hit you, you’ve made it.”

Who’s the boss?

“She is,” Ed said. “I’m the boss when she wants me to be.”

“Patience, tolerance, a lot of give and take,” Wanda said.

“Our interests weren’t exactly the same,” she said. He was into sports and dogs, she said, and she isn’t.

Ed is well-known in his family for bringing home any stray animal he found, and it was a running inside joke during the celebration.

“I’m surprised by how fast it’s gone,” Wanda said.

William Edward McCartin, 90, and Wanda June Smith, 87, were married on May 9, 1942 in Towson, Md., a town near Baltimore.

They met when Wanda’s mother invited him to church, said their son Mark McCartin, pastor at Community Chapel. Their first date was in a rented car with bald tires, skidding all over the place. After that their dates were by public buses or his mother’s car.

After about five months, he asked her to marry him, their son said. They tied the knot a couple of weeks later. Since it was so fast, Wanda “fibbed” to her parents and said she was going to work. She rode the bus to the pastor’s house instead.

Ed fibbed too, telling his parents Wanda was 18 years old. She was 17.

“Fibbed is what us Baptists called a lie,” Pastor McCartin quipped. “Because liars go to hell.”

“They said their I dos till death do us part,” he said. “And then they went apprehensively to her mother’s house.”

They told her parents, he said. Her mother cried. Her father stood nearby muttering something about getting $60, going to the courthouse and getting the marriage annulled. But he didn’t, and the marriage stood.

Six months later, Ed was drafted into the Army. He took part in the invasion of Sicily, and he spent his time in Italy.

He left behind a pregnant wife. When he returned, his 2-1/2 year old son, Bill, saw him for the first time. Nine months later, Dennis was born, then Rick and Jerry over the next three years.

Six years later, “my mom said to my dad, when you get older, you have a better chance of having a girl,” Pastor McCartin said. Instead, they ended up with three more boys, Dean, Mark and Tim, over the next three years.

After Jerry was born, Wanda’s mother asked her mother-in-law to ask him to go to church, Pastor McCartin said. He wasn’t the church-going type, but she figured he might listen to her. He did, and after listening to the sermon, he went forward to answer a call to be saved.

“‘God found me,’” Pastor McCartin quoted his father. “The whole family began going to church.”

The family spent a lot of time in church, and four years later Ed McCartin began attending a Bible school in Wisconsin. He received a license and became pastor at Hampden Community Church.

When Mark McCartin was 8 years old, a doctor told his father he needed to move west for drier air. The family moved to New Mexico, staying there for a year before moving to California for work opportunities. The three youngest sons grew up in Southern California.

Wanda worked for Hughes Aircraft, assembling and soldering parts and inspecting them, in California.

Ed retired from a job selling paint for various products, such as cabinets and sheet metal.

They moved to Sweet Home some 20 years ago, using it as a headquarters while taking trips east to visit their sons. They have lived full time in Sweet Home for about 14 years.