This year in particular, the anticipatory and often crazy lead-up to Christmas marked the former Grand Haven couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.
The Markleys were married on Dec. 19, 1941.
Grand Haven residents for more than 40 years, the Markleys built a house and raised three children: John, James and Anne. They have shared friendships, bolstered the business community, and volunteered at their church and several other institutions in town.
For the past seven years or so, they’ve lived in Holland at the Freedom Village retirement home, which on Tuesday saw a celebration for the two nonagenarians.
“So many people turned out — about a hundred, maybe more, coming and going,” said their daughter, Anne Markley Miller. “There were neighbors and friends from Grand Haven, and all of the residents they know from Freedom Village, and all of the help.
“My brother, John, flew in from California to surprise them,” Anne continued. “There was wine and a huge cake from Desserts by Design in Grand Haven. By the end of the day, everything was all gone.”
Vernon Markley was born on Nov. 1, 1919, in Pontiac. He had a gift for mechanics and entered the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in engineering.
Although he had to drop out of college due to lack of funds, Vernon found work almost immediately. He joined up with Allison Transmission in Speedway, Ind., to help design a Spitfire-like engine for an American World War II fighter plane.
During a social visit with a friend to nearby Noblesville, he met Virginia Gwinn. Virginia was born Nov. 3, 1918, and grew up on a farm that raised cows and horses.
To read more of this story, see today's edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.