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Long marriages run in the family

Marriages are generational in the Bettinger family.

Dick and Norma Bettinger of St. Vincent de Paul Parish remember watching their parents celebrate 60-plus years of marriage. Now their children, who married, and grandchildren, some of whom are married, are learning the joy and lessons of a lifelong commitment to another.

“All of them say we’ve been a good example,” said Norma, 78. “I don’t think they’ve ever seen us argue.”

Dick, 79, said, “You just stick it out. There’s ups and downs in every marriage.”

Norma said their friendship and similar interests—mostly recently time with grandchildren, volunteering at church and golfing—have sustained them through 56 years of marriage.

The pair got to know each other during college at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was in a sorority and wanted to ask Dick out on a date, although that wasn’t typically done then.

After calling and hanging up, Norma eventually asked him to a dance.

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They were together ever since.

She converted from the Episcopal faith and they married July 8, 1958 at St. Peter Chapel in Cripple Creek, where she grew up.

They learned from their parents that marriage was a lifelong commitment. And looking back the two couldn’t imagine life without each other.

“I don’t know what we would have done without each other,” Norma said.

After Dick began a career in journalism and Norma was a teacher, he purchased a small photography studio that became known as Bettinger Photography, which the family still owns.

They raised their four boys in the Catholic faith and held regular family dinners and evening prayer. They were active at their parish, St. Vincent’s, where Dick was baptized.

The family is the cornerstone from which faith is passed, they said.

They say their own marriage influenced their children’s outlook of marriage and ideas of commitment.

They now have 12 grandchildren.

“They’re all very kind and concerned about other people,” Dick said. “We do lots of things together.”


Annual Anniversary Mass

When: 12:30 p.m. Oct. 5

Where: Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan St., Denver

What: Archbishop Samuel Aquila will celebrate Mass to recognize couples celebrating anniversaries.

Details: carrie.keating@archden.org or 303-715-3259.



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