PoCo couple marks 70 years on 4th of July

Marie and Bo Beyak tied the knot on July 4, 1949.

She wore a white silk gown with a short veil. 

He donned a dark suit with a white bow tie.

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Marie and Bo Beyak married in the Grace United Church in Winnipeg.

The Manitoba natives had wanted to wed on July 2, 1949, a Saturday, but to accommodate his siblings travelling from Chicago, the Beyaks tied the knot instead on the American Independence Day, a Monday.

This year, on the 4th of July, the Port Coquitlam residents will mark 70 years as husband and wife without any fireworks.

“It’s just another day,” 95-year-old Bo Beyak said of the milestone.

Parents to two sons and two daughters, grandparents to eight and great-grandparents to nine, the Beyaks have created many memories since Bo popped the question April 12, 1949, after two seasons of serious courtship. 

On the day they married, she was 17 and he was 25. A year later, just after their first anniversary, they learned they were expecting their first baby: Joyce, born in 1951.

But following the birth of their fourth child — and the death of his sister — the Beyaks accepted a transfer from CN Rail to B.C. in August 1972 and made Burnaby, then PoCo, their home for a dozen years.

Marie’s folks were already on the west coast, as was her brother, Jim Tonn, then mayor of Coquitlam, so the transition was relatively easy, she said.

Bo spent 32 years as a waiter, porter and baggage handler, among other duties, with CN Rail (later VIA Rail Canada) before he retired in 1988. Afterward, they moved from PoCo to New Westminster before settling in Coquitlam for 19 years.

Today, they’re back in PoCo, living in the RJ Kent Residences, where “we are happy and comfortable,” said Marie, 87, while looking around their suite, which is filled with pictures of themselves and their family.

And on the eve of their 70th anniversary, Marie (whose own parents were married for 69 years before her mom passed) offers this advice to married couples and people in long-term relationships: “Make sure that you keep the communication going. Talk to one another. I don’t care what it’s about. If something bothers you, talk about it. But, most of all, love one another.”

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